The frenzy leading to Christmas morning can make the holiday itself feel like a let-down. The presents are open, and dinner eaten (hours of cooking, 15 minutes of eating), what now? In building up to one, all-important day, we’ve set ourselves up for disappointment, not to mention exhaustion.
What to do?
Advent was the answer. Rituals like the Advent wreath helps us remember that the Christmas holiday isn’t just about presents and parties. Doing church rituals at home seems strange, as it should. Advent’s oddities point us to the mystery of Christmas, which is God’s presence. Now, however, we’ve made it to the party. Do we know how to celebrate? Unproductivity is key.
Sure, we all spend hours zoning out, mindlessly thumbing through our Facebook or Pinterest feed, but there’s no celebration in that unproductivity. Like a vacation, holidays renew and restore, reminding us of what matters. Celebration makes joy a priority—more important than housecleaning, bill-paying or laundry. We spend so much time making sure these things get done, and as parents, making sure that our children are doing the right thing, that we often forget to enjoy life. What brings you joy? Now is the time to do that! The important word is DO.
Life is a gift. Celebrate Christmas like that is a fact.
First priority: Enjoy! Enjoy your family and the company of these people. Enjoy friends and their company. Christmas is a feast, so go ahead and go overboard—eat treats, play games, and let the dishes stay in the sink for just a bit longer. Keep the decorations up. Play the Christmas music. Even if you have to go back to work, make an effort to enjoy life and each other. Cook favorite foods. Play games. Go see the Christmas lights. Watch Christmas movies. Make a list of fun things to do in the area and do them. Write cards of appreciation for the people of your family. Let different family members choose an activity.
Some traditional ideas for Christmas fun:
Other Days of Christmas: See if you can keep the generosity going by reserving a present or two for the 8th or 10th Day of Christmas. Save a special present—perhaps a game or video for the whole family—for Epiphany as a great way to end the season.
St. John’s Day (Dec. 28): John is symbolized by a chalice with a snake in it. According to legend, John was offered poisoned wine, which turned into a serpent, thereby saving John from harm. On this day, wine and cider would be brought to the church for a blessing. In that spirit, offer a blessing to one another, drinking sparkling cider or other festive drink and toasting one another. John writes about God’s love—you could try simply saying “God’s love be with you!”
New Year’s: New Year’s Day is also known as the 8th Day of Christmas, or the Feast of the Holy Name, because that is when, according to Luke 2:21, Jesus was circumcised and received his name. “Jesus” means “God saves,” and reflects a Biblical tradition that the meaning of names has a lot to do with destiny. This could be a good time to remember the meaning of your name or the story of that name, if significant. New Year’s Resolutions are also an obvious way to make sense of the day.
How to manage the post-holiday blues? Put them off as long as possible! We have twelve days to keep the party going, let’s celebrate Christmas!