I’ll start off by saying I hate the phrase, “Christmas is over”. My husband has learned over the years that statement is guaranteed to put me in a foul mood if heard at any time Christmas day. I am sure my immediate eye roll is a reflection of my denial and disappointment, but I still loath the statement. It makes me sad. I love Christmas – the joy seen on my children’s faces, the traditions, the music, the decor .. all of it. So naturally, the end of something I enjoy is a little disappointing.
This year I am in denial more than ever. I blame it on time, feeling I wasn’t given enough to relish in the joy of the season. I blame it on the calendar, Thanksgiving was late this year, so we were given a late start. But zooming out to reason this feeling of sadness and disappointment, I’ve recognized it’s by choice I drove full speed this season.
It’s by choice I gave in to society’s push of todos. I demanded all traditions done. I must find that perfect gift, I must put the decor up, string the lights, address and send Holiday cards, visit relatives, do this, do that. And this constant ‘go’, and ‘do’ can often trigger anxiety and Seasonal stress.
Does my statement distaste and denial then mean I like the seasonal stress? Do I enjoy the hustle? Perhaps. But I think reason for distaste is more because it’s a reality check of the obvious and my distortion of the statement itself. Yes, it’s fact it’s no longer the 25th of December. It’s fact I will need to start thinking about taking the decor down, revert the Christmas music station, and on a grander scale – start goal setting for the New Year. But instead of hearing ‘it’s over’, I hear ‘slow down’. And I believe that is what disappoints me. It’s a hefty realization that I missed out. I could have been present more to experience more. I could have chosen to dismiss what society tells me to do. I could have chosen to be in the moment, rather than constantly thinking of what’s left on list.
It’s understood Christmas day has passed, but that doesn’t mean we cannot revert the disappointment that often comes thereafter. Today’s post shares three ways I deal with the post Christmas let down.
Say no to society’s standard
For years, my Mom had a ‘Christmas’ room. I used to make fun, never understanding why she kept the decor up year round. I now know why. She chose to say no to society’s rush. Other than the pros to a clean living space, there isn’t a need to box your decor up just yet. It isn’t long before we’ll see the store aisles reset for Valentines day. The standard is to always look ahead or forward to what’s next. And while it’s a good mindset, jumping society’s bandwagon often dismisses the present. We spend all that time decorating, let’s enjoy it a little longer. At least until New Years.
Rid the past ponder
Did you pile it on your plate like I did this year? Did you feel as if you were being pulled in every direction? So much you became indecisive on the most mundane decisions? You aren’t alone. A never ending list of todos leaves us stressed and always thinking ahead. So you may have missed an annual cookie exchange or the Christmas cards just didn’t get sent out this year. It’s okay, and really, there’s no need to justify what was done or what didn’t get done. You did your best. Spotlight your accomplishments and know the Holiday was meant to go just as it did.
Choose to be present now
All this rush, I failed to live in the moment. I was so worried about what we had left to do that I didn’t enjoy the things we chose to do. “Mom, can I help you with the cookies?” “Sure, but I’ve got to make dinner and fold the laundry and pack your lunch in the process, so ..here’s some cookie cutters and sprinkles, have at it.” Just typing that out, I am so mad at myself. I said yes, but with the future attached. I gave up opportunity to be present. I missed the chance to play part in her story of Christmas. I understand we can make Christmas cookies anytime .. but it’s a moment I could have lived had I not been worried about the next. I won’t beat myself up over it, nor will I ponder the past – but I will do my best in recognizing those instances in the future and make the choice to be present. I’ll put the phone down, I’ll do the laundry later .. I’ll engage myself in conversations and be mindful of the memories being built in the moment. Yes, Birthdays, celebrations and milestones always deserve my full attention, but the everyday instances are just as important. Being present won’t render an opportunity to miss.
Christmas may be over, but we’ve ways to push aside any disappointment that follows. This year we’ve a new decade of experiences to look forward to – new opportunities, goals to meet, dreams to work toward. Saying no to society’s standard, letting go of what was, and choosing to live in the moment will bring nothing but happiness and content. It will also rid any disappointment on cue. So instead of the eye roll, I’ll welcome the phrase. Christmas is over; cheers to that.
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