It’s that time of year. The Holiday Season, which starts roughly after Thanksgiving (earlier if you are in retail) and extends into the first full week of January. I would argue with the song that claims it as “the most wonderful time of the year” for some obvious reasons: in northern climes such as ours, it is cold and dark, and of course there are those long shopping lines, the stress of holiday preparations, and various reasons why people just are in a celebratory mood and don’t need some sappy song implying there is something wrong if they aren’t feeling wonderful. But, it can be nice nevertheless, in a multi-sensory kind of way. Colored lights illuminating the darkness, warm smells of cookies baking, Handel’s Messiah, Tchaikofsky’s Nutcracker or other favorite holiday music soothing in the background while you trim the tree and wrap presents, or do whatever else you do if you do it at all.
Okay, nothing new there, just setting the mood. What I do find curious this time of year is my own attitude toward time. I suspend my usual proclivity to planning ahead and projecting my activities into the future, and have a hard time thinking past the weeks framing Christmas. Mid-January seems like a century away (especially, this year, the date of January 20 and what comes afterwards…way too scary to think about now while in a holiday mode).
I feel as though I am living in a bubble of buoyant holiday spirit, with permission to sport tacky holiday earrings, socks, and sweaters, devour things that are sugar and cholesterol laden, and procrastinate real life matters. I tell people I should be interacting with at work, “I know this is a busy time of year, so let’s meet/talk After the Holidays.” This is holiday code for, “My brain is on leave. Blame it on the gingerbread men.” At home, I spend hours doing holiday decorating, wrapping, baking, fussing, and use this as an excuse to neglect anything non-holiday-related, like cooking healthy meals, cleaning the house, or reading edifying journals instead of the Family Circle holiday issue.
Seriously, my retired husband (who is a bit of a grinch) does most of the cooking, cleaning the house is never a big priority for me year round, and, well, I find it hard to get myself to read edifying journals the rest of the year too…but you catch my drift. This is your brain on holiday, right? Give into it, I say, don’t feel too guilty. Deal with things post-Epiphany. Clear out the left over mini candy canes (wait – they do make good breath mints year-round, no?) and face the New Year with resolve and renewed vigor.
We’ll talk After the Holidays and see how that went.