Darlings, do you get those dreadful Post-Holiday “Blues”? Well, Mummie is old enough to remember post-holiday blues back with Bob Cratchit and the gang!…. And there were years that were absolutely terrible! Look around you! The presents are all opened, wrapping paper, ribbons, and confetti lie around, as if F.A.O. Schwartz and Bergdorf Goodman either vomited and/or farted in your home… Looking back now, I’m not sure if it was better or worse when Winter actually FELT like Winter, and there were snowdrifts with dead people in them (NYC-1888) or last year when global warming gave us that Hula-Festival in Greenwich Village for Valentine’s Day! But whichever you prefer: 3 months of blizzards or stripping tinsel off your palm tree, those 8 weeks till March can be brutal for the unprepared! Many years, I’ve taken to my bathtub on New Year’s eve with a box of Calgon Bouquet, a bottle of Veuve Clicquot, and a razor blade….oh! And Guy Lombardo on the radio…. Well, I’m finding all sorts of new “purpose” in my life, especially now that I’m in my…. um….. mid-30s. And one of those wonderful contributions I can make to my loved ones is to help them through life’s annoying and discouraging travails, using my own experiences….
You know, a nice old gypsy woman read my palm once and told me, (and I quote!), “Da vay you valkt vahs torny, tru no folt ob yorr own, but az dee rrain entors da soil, da ribberr entors da ses, so teerrrs ron to a prredestin end. Yore soffering sxb an Usnn7z %nK* ees over, Sheebul $&haR2*91m…..”. Actually, at that point, she sort of lost me, but I’m sure she was saying nice things to me because she kept smiling even as tears ran down her face, and eventually I found my wallet a day or two later. My point is that, we can find all sorts of new ways to look at life even in the dullest days of Winter. And here are a few suggestions that have worked for me!!!
1) Instead of rushing to break down all those Christmas/Hannukah/Holiday decorations and strip your home bare, leave them up for a while. After all, in many parts of the world, “EPIPHANY” (January 6th) is actually a bigger holiday than Christmas itself. Epiphany is the day that the three wise men traditionally come to the stable, and officially “recognize” Jesus as the miracle baby. Many countries give their children their presents on THAT night, not the 25th. And where do you think the 12 Days Of Christmas comes from??? Right!!! The 12 days between the 25th and the 6th!!! Nice, huh??? And did you notice that in the song, the gifts actually increase in value as the nights go by??? A ‘partridge in a pear tree’ - nice! But ‘twelve drummers drumming’? - Fabulous!… (unless of course, you have a hangover.) Good Heavens! Between eight days of Hannukah and twelve days of Christmas, you can really ‘clean up’….. and then add in whatever the Kwanzaa folks do, and December starts to be so festive, you may WANT to shut down for the month of January in a detox unit! But if you ARE still looking for some fun, figure out a way to reconfigure your Holiday décor for January. Put away the menorahs, the Nativity scenes, and the motorized laughing Santa by the front door, and leave up garlands of silver, gold, blue and white and turn your home into a celebration of the Winter Nights. Leave the Holiday lights up to keep it festive….(and to keep you from breaking your neck on the front porch) If friends ask, just tell them you love the way it all chases the darkness away. It’s not like you’ve turned into Miss Havisham, and your 20 year old Christmas tree has become a fire hazard! And who doesn’t want some cheerfulness with the sun setting at 4:30 in the afternoon???
2) January and February are great months to shake up the shut-in routine! Instead of hunkering down into a kind of hibernation/homeless man/huddle, use this time to do all the stuff you save for “Spring-cleaning”. Be honest, wouldn’t it make more sense to put on all your favorite music and clean out that closet, the attic, the basement?? Donate all the things you truly don’t use to a local charity, and give your home a new fresh feel at the time you need it most! And invite friends over for a Saturday-paint-the-bedroom picnic!!! Changing the color of your home is a total ‘attitude-adjuster’. Why wait to do these projects till the warm weather is tempting you to go outside and NOT do them?? And trust me; when you’ve cleaned your closets, or painted a room or two, there is nothing like the feeling you get the next day and you wake up to a whole new home! It can be sleeting outside, but you’ll feel like a garden is blooming in your LIFE!!!
3) At no other time of the year, do folks surrender to the same old boring routine! The sun rises late, sets early, and we humans are still basically living by the same bio-clock that our prehistoric ancestors were dialed to. Even with night-clubs, and street lights, and big-city-excitement, we still rush into our caves and huddle around our TV-set-campfires after a day of hunter-gathering-number-crunching. Why wait till the Spring to get out of the house??? Take up a new hobby, or enroll in a class. But do it with others!!! Needlepoint, knitting, cooking, book-clubbing, canasta, bridge, macramé, funny-ceramics class with Mummy (hint, hint!!!). Find a group of folks who are learning something new, and join them. Ask friends who may already be doing it…or gather a bunch of friends together who are just as post-December-Disgruntled as you!!! Even if you can’t agree on a common hobby to approach as a group, you could plan a weekly activity that makes you look forward to that special day together. What if you always made Wednesdays your “Hump-Day Holiday” and went to a different restaurant to try a different world cuisine? And made a point of writing a funny ‘restaurant review’ in 25 words or less that each of you read to the others the following week during the first round of cocktails??? Eight weeks/eight new restaurant adventures!! I always find that surrounding myself with folks that I like reminds me to be grateful for the loveliness in my life…and open to even more loveliness that’s just waiting to waltz right in the front door!!!
Well, Mummie’s lectured enough for today!!! But I’ll close with this. As we all get older, it can get very easy to surrender to the ‘aches and pains’ of life, not just physically, but emotionally, spiritually, and even philosophically. I’ve noticed that two of my favorite quotes are coming back to haunt me more and more as the years go by. I learned them both when I was very(!) little, as if, on some level I knew they’d serve me well later, and here they are crowding a lot of extraneous stuff out of the way; Jack London’s credo- “I would rather be ashes than dust!...”. And Dylan Thomas’ “Do not go gentle into that good night!...’. … now let’s see. For the guest bathroom. ‘Cucumber Caprice’, or ‘Misty Malted Milk-ball’????? Mrs. Granville? Mrs. Granville! (she’s the my maid in charge of “Home-Crafts”!)…. where’s the paint roller… and my rubber gloves???
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