Today is Epiphany, a church holiday that celebrates the Three Wise Men and their visit to the Baby Jesus. Growing up, we always left the Christmas tree, along with all the lights and decorations, up until after Epiphany. My parents were less in favor of beginning Christmas right after Thanksgiving; instead they preferred to draw it out a bit, putting the Christmas tree up late and celebrating Christmas right into the new year.
I guess I am a little bit like them. It was with some sadness today that I took down the massive wreath that was hung in our front window. We'd opted out of a tree this year since we were going to New York. Normally one weekend away wouldn't have stopped me. But this year the idea of unpacking ornaments and decorations was more than I could imagine, especially since there were still boxes full of "real life stuff" in the garage still waiting to be unpacked.
I bought a large wreath, complete with juniper berries and a pine cone or two. I festooned it with ribbon and hung it in the window. When the sun shined and heated up the greens it smelled divine. We had a string of lights too, a rather sad one, but they did provide some cheer when we remembered to plug them in. Those came down yesterday.
Now it is January, and a little cold, and a tad gray, and the holiday cheer is over, leaving only a few thank you notes to write and an unopened chocolate bar or two. In France they celebrate Epiphany with a Gateau du Roi, or cake of the kings. In a typically French and festive fashion they eat the cake wearing gold foil crowns and celebrate madly. Oh to be French -- or at least in France today.
I have no celebration planned for this evening and no Gateau du Roi. But I do have a chunk of leftover lemon cake, a simple, delicate cake dusted with powdered sugar and eaten last night at the last of M.'s birthday celebrations. Perhaps we will pull it out this evening, celebrate quietly, and wait for an epiphany.