It’s the morning of the 26th and there are a few serving pieces of silver still to be wrapped in flannel and stored away, a scrap or two of wrapping paper peeking out from under the skirt of a living room chair, a carpet that desperately needs vacuuming and a handful of gifts – opened this time but still under the tree. No houseguests remain, everything seems very quiet and I realize that I’d spent 4-weeks planning, shopping, wrapping, cooking and being totally prepared for the 4-5 hours my grandchildren would be come for Christmas Day. Now, it’s over. Everything feels a little empty and you don’t even feel like turning on the tree lights. In fact, the tree doesn’t even seem as pretty as the day before and I am beginning to notice how old the decorations are. It seems like I’m experiencing that weird post-holiday depression, again. This is a familiar feeling since it occurs in the same fashion at about 6 PM on Thanksgiving Day (we eat early).
Some of you are nodding. I know I’m not the only person in the world who feels the holiday blahs – the day after. Then, realizing the hours it will take to eventually remove and pack-up all the ornaments, gather up the few Christmas decorations scattered throughout my home, pack up the tree and send-out a thank you note, or two. Everything remaining is overwhelming and not as much fun as it was a few weeks prior. In fact, I’m too exhausted to even think about it. Nothing left to feel except the low that follows every holiday high.
When this happens to me, I take a few minutes to experience the feeling and then I say, The heck with it – even God took a day off. December 26th is totally for me! No packing, no phoning, no emailing, no cooking – nothing that takes one ounce of effort. I will spend the rest of the day wallowing in the gratitude of having people in my life onto whom I can shower love and presents. Yes, friends, family and best of all, grandchildren. I smile when I remember the gifts this year that totally surprised Charlie, Jack and Lucy and how happy they were when they opened them. Then, I push everything out of my mind and head for the bathroom to take a leisurely bath, wrap-up in some comfy loungewear – nothing glamorous - and nestle on the bed to watch something on TV. Actually, in years past, the day after, I’d enjoy a double-header at the movie theater – but that was when movie theaters were open! Today, I’ll just settle for a glass of 7-Up, some homemade popcorn – with way too much butter and enjoy the first of more than one movie I’ve taped. I might order a pizza later or run to pick-up some rolled tacos from a favorite take-out restaurant or dig into something from the frig that I was saving for the “day after.”
Today is my day – with no time limits, no ‘to do’ list and absolutely nothing required from me. I explode with gratitude when I realize I can actually do this – baby myself and wallow in self-love. It’s one of the benefits of living alone but can actually be achieved if you plan it in advance with a willing spouse. In fact, the spouse can take the car to pick up the take-out. It’s all good.
Holidays are exhausting but every woman in America deserves to pamper herself (yes, women bear most of the burdens at holiday-time) for an entire 24-hours. It’s your reward for being Santa, Mrs. Claus, Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer and the elves.
Today’s was probably the most meaningless blog you’ll ever receive from me. It has no deep message and it doesn’t make some profound point. Not this one. This blog is simply to serve as a reminder of how wonderful it feels to be totally unproductive and to baby yourself once in a while. Even if you typically don’t have a set routine or a timeclock you have to punch everyday people still feel responsible, to make their bed, pick up their messes, check their emails – you know, do the basics. But, not me - not today. And, you don’t have to either!
If you read this blog too late to take advantage of complete selfishness on the 26th of December – do it on the 27th ! Your tree will still be standing, there will still be loose ends to tie up and you may still be saying goodbye to visiting family. The second you realize it’s over until next year; the moment you have that glorious feeling of peace and quiet – the “you-time” begins!
I invite you to join me in the world of nothingness. I give you complete permission. It’s the only way to survive the letdown that happens after. Then, in 24-hours, you’ll start to become bored, guilt will begin to settle in and you’ll decide it’s time to start your life again.
Until then – it’s you and me.