When I was a kid, I loved the holidays. But as an adult, I find the winter holidays exhausting. I am not talking about the emotional baggage… I am talking about the physical labor involved in preparing for whatever holiday you celebrate. The cooking, shopping and decorating and for some us…the cleaning.

Every year, I set up a schedule to start the holiday cleaning, but those plans seem to fall apart fast. Instead, I find myself caught up in these cleaning marathons. I spend days and nights sorting, packing and delivering stuff to Goodwill or Boomerangs.

Then I start throwing away the newspapers, junk mail, and magazines. And, as I reach for the vacuum cleaner I can hear the dust bunnies cry out “you promised we could live in peace.” Thank goodness, the sounds of their tiny annoying voices are blocked out by the humming sounds of the vacuum.

I rest for a moment, confident I am at the end of the marathon but reality sets in. I find myself still l surrounded by my “other” stuff. The tubes of paint, painted and blank canvases, pens, sketches, pencils, notes to self, laundry, books etc. I search for homes for these precious items. In the end, they will fill in the vacant spaces where the donation boxes and bags once lounged. There is also the problem of finding safe places for my active projects. In this case the word ‘safe’ is code for …places where I can access the stuff after the holidays!

I admit, I have more stuff than most countries. But I love my (people) friends so I continue to struggle to make room for them. Fortunately, the need to clear out guest space happens once a year. January 1, the day I celebrate Kwanzaa. My friends and I enjoy my annual Kwanzaa celebration. There is the candle lighting ceremony, eating good food, talking and pondering the world’s events!

Once the guests leave, I sit back and enjoy my clean living room. I smile, it feels nice. I take in the moment before I frantically start searching for those notes on that project due on Friday!

P.S. This rant is dedicated to all those grumpy folks caught up in the Merry Christmas vs. Happy Holiday battle. In the end we all clean house.


Janet Cormier is a painter, writes prose and poetry, and performs comedy. JC prefers different and original over pretty. She loves collecting stuff, but cleaning not so much. Janet also talks to strangers… a lot. Her column appears weekly in Oddball Magazine.