It’s the first Monday after “the holidays.” I’ve always thought of it as the first day of back to “normal” after Christmas. Christmas is that holiday and time of year that I think most people who celebrate Christmas traditions look forward to the most in a year. Family, gifts, food, traditions, time off of school and work, memories to be made. And everyone seems to just be in a better mood for a small slice of time in the Earth’s tour around the sun.
We stayed at our home in Austin this year and Steve and Joanne drove down from Des Moines on the 23rd and spent the holidays with us. They’re hitting the road and heading home today. And today I’m back to work.
The season just abruptly ends. I guess it just kind of has to. I feel like Christmastime has a bit of a lead-up. We start getting “festive” around Thanksgiving. The day after Thanksgiving they start playing Christmas music on the radio and in stores and restaurants. We start sending and receiving Christmas cards. People post their family photos and photos of trees and decorations on social media. And than all culminates into whatever exciting tradition(s) we have. For us it’s Mass, the dinner on Christmas eve, and waking up on Christmas morning and ripping through wrapping paper to unveil presents.
But there’s not really any kind of wind-down of Christmas. Steve and Joanne will be gone in a couple hours and I’ll be at my desk, responding to communications with no reciprocating sense of holiday cheer. Conversations that easily take place in the middle of August, where Christmas isn’t even a blip.
It’s like when a movie ends or you finish a really good book. There’s a mourning that happens. Only in this story, you’re the protagonist. I always wonder if I did enough, gave enough, loved enough. It’s always been like that for me, ever since I was a little kid. And then that turns into that brief period of the Post-Christmas Blues that I think a lot of us endure.
All too often these days I feel like I’m acknowledging how life is fleeting, so in that theme is easy to realize it that Christmas will be here again before we know it. While I’m not a religious person, I married into a religious family, and I know that Christmas doesn’t actually officially end until Epiphany on January 6th. So we’ve a couple days left.