The Day After Christmas

Do you ignore the mess and sleep in, luxuriating in a jammies day? Do you hit the road, jostling in traffic with others returning home from holiday visits with the relatives’?

Do you appreciate the quiet after a celebration that was filled with laughing, games, and celebratory eating and drinking (ultimately resolving not to overindulge again!)? Do you race to the mall to exchange gifts or take advantage of sales?

Do you experience a void, an emptiness, now that two of the three much anticipated holidays are past?

Or do you catch your breath and try to keep it together for the final push of entertaining for the New Year?

Before I retired, I would spend the day after retrieving holiday decoration boxes and taking down wreaths and garlands, candles and poinsettias, and all the ornaments and lights in the living and dining rooms. My pre-lit artificial tree didn’t leave much mess, but it was a b*tch to get back in the storage box. I gave Rod that arduous task!

After everything was stored, I’d open the fridge and cupboards and do an overhaul of foods that didn’t support a healthy lifestyle. Did I really need to finish that 1950’s traditional cheeseball with the ubiquitous Ritz crackers? Could I find someone else who would appreciate that unopened box of See’s chocolates? And could I re-gift all the pink Champagne that had been re-gifted to me in the first place?

These days …

As a retiree with no immediate family nearby, the day after Christmas is like any other day. I wake when I want and do pretty much whatever I feel like doing. Not bad, huh?! There are only a few decorations to take down, but they’re mostly live poinsettias and holly. And this year for the first time I’ve given up the tree (Rod will be thrilled) and all the ornaments and lights.

It’s time to simplify.

While the decorations have been minimized, however, I still have to deal with food overhaul.

I’m more aware of my mood this year.

Due to recent events in the world, and within my community (historically devastating fires), my mood is less joyful. I’m aware of the tightness within my core that’s been there for months. Meditation, exercise, prayers, and time in nature helps to alleviate that stress.

I’m careful, in simplifying, not to create a more disheartening mood through the lack of visible celebration and grateful appreciation for the bounty of my life. It’s good to remind myself of all the senior citizens who return to work the day after Christmas because they’ve seen the loss of their retirement funds. These community elders don’t get the luxury of choosing their day-after activities.

I am a bit more reflective as my attention shifts to the New Year.

I’m attempting to move the celebration inward, shifting from external parties and gatherings to remember, with all that I am and all that I have, to celebrate my wonderful life of freedom and abundance.

I hope that your day after is fun, whatever way you need and want. Don’t forget to acknowledge that you have everything you require to celebrate the coming year whether you’re alone or with others, whether loss is overshadowing abundance right now, and whether Thanksgiving and Christmas were as you anticipated or wished them to be. This is my wish for you.