It's the day after Christmas, and most of the excitement of the season has wound down, the gifts have been opened, the wrapping paper is torn and crumpled, and the special holiday meals are completed. We've all spent weeks preparing for this holiday, and then just like that, it's behind us. Sometimes in years past there have been times when I've felt a little bit let-down, maybe even some disappointment, about the fact that Christmas had come and gone so quickly. The week after Christmas was sometimes a drag. But as I've grown, I've come to appreciate this week after Christmas as its own unique contribution to the wonder of the season. Here are some of the ways that I avoid the dreaded post-holiday blues.
1. We like to extend our holiday activities after Christmas Day has come and gone. For example, this year we didn't take the time to drive around and look at holiday lights in the town, so we'll do that one evening before this weekend is over. There are holiday exhibits, concerts, and special events still occurring in our local area, and we are planning to take advantage of some of these too.
2. We like to get together with friends after Christmas rather than before. This allows us all to focus on family before Christmas, and to spend more time being relaxed and enjoying our friends' company after the worries of shopping and wrapping and baking have been completed.
3. We make a special effort to make phone calls - or these days, video chats - with family members who live across the country. We've scheduled these calls in advance, specifically having them after Christmas Day, again, to extend the fun of the season. This way we get to hear all about our loved ones' Christmas celebrations and the nieces and nephews love to show off their Christmas gifts.
4. We make an extra effort to express gratitude to each other for all the kindnesses that have been shown during the holiday season. This should go without saying and should be a part of our regular, every day lives, and it is, of course. Putting our gratitude into words very clearly and frequently, on purpose, extends the warmth of the Christmas spirit into our every day interactions.
5. We like to take time during this week to dream about things to come in the new year. Once the big hoopla of Christmas is over, it's fun to have something new and fun to look forward to. The next big thing for our family in 2014 is that we are planning a trip to Orlando for our family. So we've been talking over our hopes and wishes for that trip, talking about where we might stay, what we might do, and so on.
6. I like to use this week to just relax! The must-do things for Christmas are done, so I use this week to just enjoy my family, and enjoy some down time, and get off my feet. I keep cooking and cleaning to a minimum, and I make sure I get some me-time with a good book. I watch more movies during this week than during the rest of the year combined! There are nightly board games with the family and there is an ongoing jigsaw puzzle on the dining room table. This week of rest is truly a gift for me and my family.
How about you? Do you sometimes feel let-down after Christmas? What's your approach to the week after Christmas? Drop me a note in the comments to let me know!