The pleasure of putting away


“It’s time to take down the Christmas tree,” said my sister.

“I don’t want you to take away the tree!” cried my nine-year-old niece, and she fled the room.

My 12-year-old niece stayed in the living room to help her mom. Gently, they removed the ornaments one by one and placed them in the storage box.

We admired each ornament as it came down: the translucent globe from the art museum. The wooden angel floating on his belly. The mermaid with tiny shells glued to her fin.

“I made these in third grade,” said my niece of the foil disks painted with felt-tip marker, as I complimented her work. “This,” I said of a bejeweled sphere, “reminds me of the year I covered styrofoam balls with ribbons and hatpins back in junior high.”  “I still remember that star you cut from a pie plate for the top of the tree,” my sister told me.

I understand the nine-year-old’s reluctance to say goodbye to the tree. But she missed what turned out to be a fond hour of appreciation.

It’s easy to value beginnings and peak experiences. But sometimes endings can be just as sweet.



  1. Great re-frame of endings! Thank you for this piece. So true.
    Endings can be a wonderful opportunity for acknowledgements too.

  2. Janet Bailey says:

    @Sharon – Great point about endings and acknowledgements. True for coaching and other relationships too.

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