Maybe you are one of the lucky ones, who, on December 25 each year, wakes up and still has some semblance of Christmas magic, twinkling with anticipation and excitement, nestling into your heart… a heart growing by the second due to sheer happiness.
Or, maybe, you don’t wake up with a giddy smile on your face anymore, but bouncing kids, who are beyond excited to tell you, "Santa came!"
Or, perhaps, it’s decorating your home, baking Christmas cookies, watching a Christmas movie or going to mass to see the reenactment of Christ’s birth (which is, of course, the true meaning of Christmas) that puts you in the jolly spirit.
Any Christmas partaker (or Hallmark movie) can tell you there is just something special about Christmas Day. There’s a sense of peace in the air and possibly, fresh-fallen snow on the ground. People put aside their differences and open their hands, hearts and homes, both to give and receive.
But, something everybody seems to forget is the post-Christmas season. Now, of course, each family deals with its Christmas “teardown” in its own way, but after the festivities, here are the five worst things about the post-Christmas Season.
The Morning Of December 26 Is NOT December 25
All of that Christmas magic with which you awoke the day before instantly vanishes the second you turn off your iPhone alarm and realize it says December 26. Or, wait, was the vanishing due to your hangover?
Not only do you not get to repeat the joy of Christmas morning, but you also have to wait an entire year for that feeling to possibly creep back into your heart again.
Did I mention it’s FRIDAY, December 26? So, if you weren’t lucky enough to have used a vacation day, it means you still have one more day of work before the weekend.
And, obviously peppy Peggy will be in her post-Christmas/New Year’s resolution diet. This is too much to deal with on a hungover Friday.
I Got FAT For Christmas. No Gift Receipt Included.
Speaking of work, apparently, just because most of the world takes a holiday on Christmas, so does your metabolism.
Last Christmas night, “Young and old, sat down to feast. You feasted on Who pudding, and rare Who roast beast!” (Dr. Seuss, obviously).
And, according to your memory — which is burnt out like an old strand of Christmas lights, thanks to the schnapps -- it wasn’t just a little bit of pudding or roast beast. It was a lot of everything.
But, you can’t deal with last night because today, you are stuck with a bowl full of jelly that isn’t quite making your dimples look so merry. Great.
Thanks to some of your “extra baggage,” you might not fit into the clothes Aunt May bought when she last saw you… five years ago. Or, you are an honest person who just genuinely doesn’t like a gift and would like to exchange it. Which only means one thing: shopping.
For people who enjoy Christmas exchanges, this can be like a second Christmas shopping adventure, all over again! The checkout lines are just as long as they were pre-Christmas and the sales are absolutely glorious!
The only thing that appears different is the return/exchange line, which is, of course, five times longer and the only reason you are here. Waiting in the return/exchange line is aggravating alone, but due to the thoughtfulness of the gift you are returning, this line comes with a side of guilt, as well.
Not only do you feel bad for returning the clothes Aunt May bought you, but you are also thinking:
What if she expects me to wear them the next time I see her?! What if she tells me how much time she put into shopping for them and I have to lie? I feel bad.
But, then, you reason with yourself: "Nah. You wouldn’t have fit in them, anyway… Yeah, that’s the problem."
What Goes Up…
It MUST come down. Many families in my neighborhood — provided there was no arctic blizzard requiring Rudolph’s guidance — take down their Christmas decorations the week following New Year's Day.
If the morning of December 26 didn’t swipe away enough Christmas magic for you, de-decorating surely will. Removing decorations is like taking a trip down memory lane and packing it away for another year.
All those childhood memories, recently made memories and hopes for the future all get tossed out, like the Christmas tree laying sideways in the front of your house, waiting to be picked up. The house appears much bigger than before, but bigger can commonly be mistaken for emptier, and emptier is, of course, dismal.
Some people have a hard time letting go of Christmas and keep up their decorations all the way until Easter. “It’s almost July!” is one of the many excuses I have heard. My advice is to be a good neighbor and help your neighbors rip off the Christmas bandage and de-decorate.
The wound will heal and everyone, including your neighbors trying to sell their home in March, will be much happier.
Honestly, after the Christmas holiday (and New Year’s), what is there to look forward to? Do you even get off for President’s Day or Martin Luther King Day, anymore? Are you that excited for a groundhog that the state forces out of its warm burrow?
And, Valentine’s Day? Blah. As if you have anyone to spend it with, anyway. Even if you do, do you really enjoy commercial America telling you when to celebrate your relationship?
January, February and the beginning of March are an endless abyss of cold, short and gloomy days. The only reoccurring theme seems to be the flu virus.
Even with all of the hopelessness, emptiness, exchanging and extra poundage, you have to admit, it was a pretty awesome Christmas. Though it may not be coming back for a long time, the best way to deal with post-Christmas stress syndrome is to hold a funeral and bury it safely in the closet for next year.
The trick, however, is to keep the ghosts of Christmases passed with you throughout the year.