It’s the big day. We push to get so many things done, complain a bit about how busy we are, neglect the business of life, forget exercise, all for the big day. It comes. We indulge in gifts and food. And then comes December the twenty-sixth. It’s over. And some years it seems almost icky the day after. All that clutter and coziness. (((shudder))))
Feeling a bulgy waistline, the leftovers that should have brought more happiness were often left. The tree’s needles seemed less green. The clutter of celebration became annoying.
And so – enter the twelve days of Christmas. My mom rather sneakily brought this in to our home by leaving the tree and décor up until January 6 declaring with a grin that “we’re leaving the tree up until Ephiphany, the celebration of light!” I thought she was just being my silly mom, and finding a reason to put off the take down until later.
But now, I sometimes think that as Americans – we don’t really know how to celebrate. Everything is crammed into just one day. Rather than a multi-day celebration with feasting and more feasting, we rush around, cram it into a single day and settle into some kind of sad coma the day following. Or worse – we go back to work. I’ll have one order of Chrstmas please, and a side of fries.
This year, we made an attempt to embrace the full twelve-day Christmas season and viewed everything as just starting on December the twenty-fifth. Well – I made the attempt, and my always-ready-for-a-party-husband happily agreed. It took the pressure off and even allowed me to feel completely comfortable heading to the beaches of Mexico the week prior, landing a little late perhaps for comfort on the 24th, but happy to start the season that night.
We decorated the tree on that night. And while it wasn’t quite as magical as some years – we stopped adding decorations when we got tired of it – we drank mulled wine, opened gifts (hastily wrapped that night, might want to fix that for next year), and started celebrating the next day.
A week later, and I’m persistently listening to Christmas music on Pandora. I stuck with Advent meditations all the way to Christmas. And I’m looking forward to returning home later this week to our tree, lights, and nativity sets. Our cards went out this week and are not late. Boxes of chocolates were delivered to neighbors on the the 29th and no one complained. My husband and I haven’t yet watched Scrooge or Wonderful Life – but we have time this weekend. With twelve days to celebrate, there really is time to slow down and get done whatever you like.
I spent New Year’s weekend with my parents. And yes – the lights were still up, we listened to Christmas music, sang the Christmas songs at church, and enjoyed the holiday every day.
As far as post-holiday sadness – I’ll have to let you know how I feel on January 7th. I have a feeling I will be just fine.