We put our tree up later than some so we get to enjoy it for a week or three after Christmas. I always feel sad when I see those trees out on the curb on the 27th. We decided to take ours down yesterday. You'd think someone told her that Santa Clause died. Oh, the tears and the sobbing. I tried to put a positive spin on it: "Here's the deal: We HAVE to take the tree down so that we can put a NEW one up next year! See? It will be great!" She was not having it.
One convenient distraction technique I've discovered is to ask her to help me clean the house. (What are the chances that that will still work when she is, say, 15 and actually capable of cleaning?) She helped me vacuum the needles and calmed down. One of the bigger pieces wouldn't be sucked up by the vacuum so Tikka decided that we should reunite it with "his brother" outside. We took the little branch out to the curb and put it with the big tree.
Is that kind of weird empathy genetic? I have very clear memories of helping my mom make macaroni and cheese and if any of the noodles were stuck to the lid of the cardboard box, I was determined to release them and put them in the boiling water so they could be with their friends. I remember thinking, If you noodles are going to die in a pot of boiling water, you're all going to go down TOGETHER!