Our neighborhood had a surprise snowstorm this weekend - a "chance of flurries" rapidly became eight inches, and by morning everything was covered in a sparkling white blanket. I turned on some Nat King Cole, flicked on the holiday lights, and cooked up French toast with flurries of powdered sugar, hot chocolate and whipped cream. My son woke to a winter wonderland.
While flipping the French toast, I was aware of how quickly the sparkle of December turns into the gray slush of January. Once the holidays are over, winter speedily loses its magic, and we start dreaming of far-off spring.
I try to soften the blow of that post-holiday letdown by continuing some of the celebration into January. When the holiday season first starts, we make a big event of decorating the house, complete with music, treats and movies. After the holiday, we have an equally big event of taking everything down, making a family party out of the day.
Until those decorations are down, however, we keep the lights lit and the music up. By mid-January everyone is ready to ditch Bing Crosby's warble, taking some of the sting out of putting both away.
Though we mostly try to deemphasize shopping and present-opening, new things are an unavoidable part of the excitement of the season. We carry that excitement into the first months of the year by making a special trip (or two) to use all of the generous gift cards received from friends over the holidays. Instead of giving my son all of his gifts at once, we tuck them away in a closet or drawer. They're pulled out one at a time throughout winter, making each one special and "new," to enjoy individually, rather than overwhelming.
We plan other events following the holidays. There are neighborhoods nearby that put up lights just for winter and play festive music. We set aside a special day to go for a walk and a quick bite.
We've found the holiday season is what we make of it. Instead of one big day, we have many little days scattered throughout and leading up, so all of the hope and anticipation isn't resting on just one day. When December is just a series of traditions we made ourselves, it's all the easier to carry some over into January to dampen the disappointment of the end of a magical season.
About Liz Moorhead
Liz Moorhead is a high school teacher turned work-from-home mom. An illustrator and writer, she blogs for a top wedding site and shares her own personal experiences on her blog Happy Sighs in between walks to the park with her toddler son - all just outside of Philadelphia.