The Post-Christmas Come-Down

December 26, 2011 § Leave a comment

As an agnostic, I can say this without shame: the anticipation of Christmas is always better than the holiday itself. I love that month between Thanksgiving and Christmas, all “Sleigh Ride” on the radio and Meet Me in St. Louis on TCM, going to see The Nutcracker and driving through Christmas lights displays. Christmas itself always tends to be kind of  a wash for me–in the service industry, we work both Christmas Eve and Boxing Day, so extended celebrations or any kind of relaxation are out of the question. It’s always a last-minute rush to get to the relatives’ house and back, often complete with sickness and no sleep, while I gorge myself on candy and cookies and feel miserable for it afterward. As an aspiring-but-usually-incompetent minimalist, the acquisition of gifts makes me feel more guilty than good. My family has reached that age where all of the younger generation are no longer kids (my youngest cousin just turned 18), but none of us have kids of our own yet, so there’s none of that vicarious magic-of-the-Christmas-spirit thing going on–we’re all just old and jaded. I end up enjoying the trappings of Christmas more than I enjoy Christmas.

Still, December 26 always comes so abruptly, doesn’t it? Maybe I’d feel differently if my vacation ever lasted that long, if I got to spend it lazily going home, shopping and spending a little more time with family and friends. But instead it’s back to work. Meanwhile, the carols have disappeared from the radio, TCM’s line-up has returned to its usual secular format, and there’s no good excuse to take mini-road trips to Chicago or drink hot cocoa spiked with peppermint schnapps. I mean, is that going to stop me? Probably not. But still, it’s nice to have an excuse.

For years, I’ve advocated that we push Christmas back to January 25th. After all, it’s not like Jesus was actually born in December. Stores will get an extra month after Thanksgiving to push their goods on us, Christmas is almost guaranteed to be a white one, and after it’s all over, we only have to make it through another two months of winter instead of three. Seems like a winner of a plan all around to me.

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