Kids watching Elf. Cookies baking. Alexa playing instrumental Christmas music. Evergreen candle and tree both lit. It’s the most wonderful time of the year! Except according to all secular “rules,” Christmas is over. It’s December 27th, so I guess I should be in that post-Christmas funk, eating my feelings. But I’m really enjoying this holiday season.
I’m Catholic, so I’ve always celebrated the Advent season between Thanksgiving and Christmas, while Christmas Day started the “Twelve Days of Christmas” leading to epiphany, which then meant time for King Cake and Mardi Gras! Still, though, it was tough to keep the Christmas spirit going when everyone says it’s over. Our tree stays up until January 5th (maybe later if I’m being honest), but according to the rest of the world, it’s time to move on and make our New Year’s Resolutions.
Even more difficult is being a mom at Christmastime. It’s such a challenge to enjoy the time leading up to Christmas for fear of missing an opportunity to make it magical and memorable. Did we get to see enough lights? Were we able to squeeze in enough movies? Have we modeled Giving rather than Receiving? Did we miss the televised Rudolph? It’s stressful to say the least.
Which is why, the more Christmases I’ve done, the more I enjoy the week between Christmas and New Year’s. It’s like a stress-free bonus week to do the Christmas stuff that you may have missed while you were too busy making Christmas happen. I used to get so depressed when the big day was over. The weeks leading up to Christmas seem to drag on, but the hours of Christmas Eve and Christmas Day fly by like reindeer! There’s a whirlwind of packing gifts and food and unwrapping and repacking different gifts … ! And then, suddenly, nothing.
This week leading up to New Year’s, for me, is optional Christmas. We can watch Charlie Brown again, or we can not. There’s no pressure to cross anything off a list. While we’re driving around after dinner, we can go see what houses are still decorated and lit up. Or we can not. Elf or NFL. Home Alone or out and about.
I’m not letting go of Christmas on the 26th. I worked too hard to make the season magical for it all to get packed away for next year this early. So if you come by, don’t be surprised if I’m cozying up on the couch, hot chocolate in hand, settling in for an uninterrupted viewing of “It’s a Wonderful Life” — and living my best Christmas life!