Yesterday, I read a blog post entitled, Christmas Mirage from Route 8. While the post was really about the author getting sick after attending a church sponsored Christmas carol sing-a-long in a brewpub, she alluded to what she called the "Christmas Mirage."
That phrase resonated with me. Christmas does seem to . . . I was going to say slither but that sounds oily. The Grinch slithers. "Disappear" is the better word, as in a mist. As if it wasn't really there. A mirage.
This Christmas was good. It was at someone else's house. The buildup was someone else's problem. (Problem or joyful anticipation?) Procurement, wrapping, baking, hosting - Not it! Our house on Christmas day was peaceful and lazy. Better than any Sunday you can think of. (Chores strictly prohibited.)
In a way, it didn't feel like Christmas at all. We spent the week leading up to it in southern California. Houses were decorated, sure, but there was no snow. No precipitation of any kind, just clear skies and brilliant sunshine in the midst of winter. We were housesitting. There was a Christmas tree but there were no obligations - no office parties, awkward gift exchanges, or family gatherings. It was nice.
Some years ago, we agreed not to exchange gifts but this was the first time Hubby adhered to the rule and I was quite grateful. His heart is big - so much bigger than mine (remember?) - and he would always break our no gift rule with some expensive thing I really didn't need. It was given in love and returned with regrets. It was like breaking his heart year after year.
I could have kept the gifts and let them gather dust. Maybe that would have been better. This year, he gave me nothing and I was filled with joy! I, in fact, broke the rule. I gave him two books. Both were completely unnecessary, but not expensive, and one of them was really for me. (They weren't gift wrapped. Does that count?)
Still, the day after Christmas always feels like some kind of letdown. Even if it was exactly as you wanted, there's a sense of disappointment and unfulfilled expectations afterward. Loss? The echo of silence? There are decorations but nothing left to celebrate, reminders of something that was once there but now isn't.
Then, for many, there's an awkward work week - shortened, sometimes fractured, by the holiday. Requisite attendance with questionable productivity. No one wants to be there. Everyone wants the ease of Christmas day to linger. Work or not, the week between Christmas and New Year's Eve is that moment in time when people glance back at the past and make hopeful plans for the future. No one is focused on today.
I am doing the same. Looking back on 2018, I attended one funeral and one wedding. I attended several concerts and shows. I traveled. I learned how to shoot a gun. I re-read what I wrote last year. I made new friends and ended other friendships. I got a colonoscopy and a mammogram. We updated and executed our Wills. I did not clean out my closets except, perhaps, metaphorically.
I'm not sure I have any resolutions for the new year. More of the same: travel, weddings, and funerals in all likelihood. Mending broken relationships is on my list although I haven't any idea of how I'll go about it. I'll figure something out.
I do plan on joy. And laughter. Our motto has been, "If you're not having fun, do something different." Sure, there are melancholy moments, like the Christmas mirage, but that's the time to focus on something else, do something different. Time to put away all the decorations and move on. Have fun. Be with people you love and like to be around.
Yes, that's what my 2019 is going to be about. Christmas is over. It's time to do something different.