Tuesday, December 30, 2008

The Other Side of Christmas

So, it's the other side of Christmas. The tree is still up, the music still plays but it feels like it's a downward slope rather than an upward one. It's a strange feeling to know that all that preparation, all that gift buying, all the decorating is over for another year.

I've noticed that some people have already taken the tree down. It's the saddest thing to drive by houses the day after Christmas- on Boxing Day as we Brits call it- and see the discarded trees by the side of the road, the last of the icicles clinging, ready to be picked up and disposed of. I hate that. My family keeps the tree up for twelve days after Christmas, until Ephiphany in January. It's considered bad luck to take it down sooner. I like this tradition because it extends the season, makes it ok to listen to Christmas music, enjoy my lights and scent the room with cinnamon for a few more days.

Yet though the tree is still up, there's still that overwhelming Post-Christmas letdown that inevitably hits. Prior to December 25th, we scurry around, buying gifts, adding more decorations, wrapping like fiends, hoping that our internet orders will arrive on time (which they don't. They're always late. Most annoying) and baking to make the house feel even more Christmasy.

By the time Christmas Day arrives, it's been anticipated so much that it never quite feels like it should arrive. It's like when you're expecting a guest- you dust, clean, scent and vacuum and when you're done, your home has never looked better. It's the time before the guests arrive and it's just you and your clean home that are the best moments. It's not that you don't want the guests but the feeling of seeing your place clean, unmarred from interruptions that makes it hard to see the guest actually arrive. To me, Christmas is like a guest. You want it because when it arrives, it's easy to enjoy and relax with it but the preparations and effort that go into the expectation of its arrival mean that when it finally does arrive, it's hard to see everything change in one day.

Now it's after Christmas. I got some amazing gifts that, once again, make me realize how lucky I am in my family and friends. Last night, I used my new tart-warmer and my living room smells like mulling spices. I listened to a mellow Christmas CD that my best friend gave me and I relaxed with a book. It was peaceful and nice and let me postpone the post Christmas letdown that was threatening. I closed the blinds and shut out the world and escaped into my cocoon of Christmas. Until my tree is down, I refuse to acknowledge that it's time to move on. Just because the actual date has past doesn't mean it's over. Granted, it's hard to walk into a store and see Valentines decorations already but I'm ignoring them.

Then again, as far as Valentines Day goes, I tend to ignore it anyway. It's the penalty of being a thirty-something singleton. But I definitely am NOT ready to see red hearts and flowers yet. I'm still enjoying the trees, lights, chocolate and snowmen of Christmas. I know it's all about marketing but it's sad that you go to Walgreens on December 24th and pay full price for items that, two days later, will be 50% off. There's something odd about that.

I'll take my tree down on January 6th as I do always. I will keep my Tran Siberian Orchestra CD in the player for a while longer and I will continue to use my holiday dishes. Just because it's the other side of Christmas doesn't mean it's over yet, not for me anyway. I'm back at work which feels strange. Yet it's New Years tomorrow and after that will be another long weekend. Four more days off from work is a Christmas gift unto itself.

Happy Tuesday!

1 comment:

Sarah said...

I'm glad that you love your tart warmer and listening to your mellow Christmas CD! :-)