VATICAN CITY — Walking toward the Vatican this morning, my colleague Cindy Wooden and I were surprised to see the Holy Family was no longer in St. Peter’s Square. Vatican workers were busily taking down the beautiful Christmas creche they had unveiled less than three weeks ago.
Also being dismantled was the 108-foot-tall Christmas tree. The tree will be recycled into toys and other things for children.
The same crane that had helped workers hang lights and thousands of silver and gold ornaments was again extended along this 120-year-old spruce fir.
We were surprised to see everything being packed up because traditionally the Nativity scene and tree stayed up until the Feb. 2 feast of the Presentation of the Lord.
A quick call to the offices governing Vatican City revealed that “it had been decided this year to take everything down at the end of the Christmas period.”
So it seems Jan. 11, the Baptism of the Lord, now marks the end of the Christmas period for the Vatican.
Even workers in the Vatican press office were busy carting away poinsettias, taking down smaller Christmas trees, and vacuuming up pine needles today.
Putting Christmas decorations away always makes me feel a little sad, so I think I’ll keep my tree up a few more weeks. It helps that it’s a live potted tree and super chilly in our house.
How long do readers usually keep their decorations up?