Well, Christmas is over. Another November and December gone in flurry of decorating and gift-hunting, followed by all the anticipation and a sleepless night before Christmas, finally culminating in that blizzard of wrapping paper on Christmas morning. Then it’s all over.
Two month’s worth of rushing, wrapping, and trying to keep track of who got what for whom, all over in a two-hour unwrapping marathon. It’s always amazing how it can be over so fast, and how suddenly the joy of looking forward to it is snatched away like being awakened from a good dream. Everything shifts back to reality; the reality of a mountain of empty boxes and drifts of crumpled paper. The kids dash off to unpack new Lego sets, and husbands sprawl on the floor with the littlest children to assemble new toys. We moms clear away the debris and start looking around for space to house all the new acquisitions and scrounge up a meal for the now-hungry tummies.
In many ways it’s peaceful. I walked from room to room smiling at my husband and kids happily occupied. The quiet was refreshing after the stress of previous weeks. We ate pizza for lunch, then I indulged in a craft project for a couple hours while rewatching a few episodes of Downton Abbey. I haven’t had that kind of time to myself in months! Eventually, all the Lego creations were finished, and my family drifted into the kitchen one by one. We snacked on sweet Christmas treats and eventually had a casual supper before donning PJs and crawling into bed.
It’s also sad, those last hours of Christmas Day. You feel like something has yet to happen, that you’ve forgotten or missed something, that surely it should last longer. I no longer feels as exciting as I remember it being when I was a child. After all the anticipation, for it to be over so quickly, it’s almost cruel! I’ve learned to revel in the memories and replay the joy on my kids’ faces until New Year’s. I love the idea of Christmastide, or the Twelve Days of Christmas as it’s more often referred to. Those twelve days from Christmas Day to January 6th when, traditionally, the Wise Men arrived with their gifts in a special little holy day all its own called Epiphany. I wish we could have a real twelve days of Christmas during that time, days full of Christmas baking and gift exchanges between family and friends. Twelve days to revel in the peace and music and light of Christmas. As the kids get older I’ll try to put more focus on these in-between days, but for now, we take the long weekend that Daddy is off work and treat every day like Saturday. That means we eat a big, late breakfast and bum around in our pajamas and watch movies and play. Well, most everyone plays… someone still has to keep the laundry going and meals on the table. We will aim for a slower pace, and I even stocked the freezer with some organic pizzas and burritos. Yes, there IS occasionally a time and place for convenience food… I’m finding myself yearning for a cheesy Hallmark Christmas movie to prolong the holiday as long as I can.
But first I have to fold the laundry that found its way into my living room chair last night…
Maybe Grandpa is right: anticipation really IS the greatest pleasure.