It's the New Year already, but I'm not super eager to get rid of 2018 – and definitely not of Christmas. See, for me, Christmas has only just begun. I've spent most of December actually celebrating Advent, which focuses on a happy anticipation of Christmas itself, and only after December 24th do we really begin the season.
I'm always sad to drive around in the few days right after Christmas and see all the lights taken down and decorations disappear. It seems so very disappointing, especially for children. They often spend every day after Thanksgiving looking forward to December 25th, but after all the gifts are unwrapped – some soon forgotten – the cheer disappears almost instantly.
And what about us grownups, too? Much of the month has been spent in such a hustle (choose gifts, buy gifts, wrap gifts) and bustle (dig out the lights, set up the tree, send holiday cards) that we relax only on Christmas day to find… that it's already over. That seems like an excessive amount of preparation if it's only for one short day, after all, not to mention some disappointment if things don't go exactly as planned – there's a whole year left until the day comes again!
So what happened to "the happiest time of the year"?
That's why I love celebrating Christmas fully into January, and even something as simple as our Christmas tree remaining in its place can help me keep the spirit as a part of my life. The holiday is about so much more than just presents, so it doesn't have to be thrown away as quickly as the wrapping paper! I know that if I stopped celebrating Christmas the very day after when the songs stop and the lights come down, I would be pretty sad come the New Year. So instead, I like to start on a more joyful note and let the Christmas spirit stick around.
Yes, sometimes the decorations do stay up excessively long because once school begins it's hard to find the time to take them down – but it still beats clearing Christmas from the house the day after! It's a reminder that we're still celebrating; our deck lights are still on every night though the rest of the neighborhood seems to have forgotten about theirs. And I don't mind still listening to my favorite Christmas songs well into January. I think the season is just too special to be reduced to one day and too meaningful to be forgotten quite so quickly.
Maybe you've already taken your decorations down, and maybe you're tired of hearing the same songs over and over in all the stores you visit. And that's okay – Christmas isn't all about the decorations or carols, either! I know they help me, but they won't work for everyone. Find something that works for you, but try to keep the cheerful spirit with you, even though a new year seems to leave everything 2018 in the dust. Christmas just doesn't have to be a part of that when it can be so much more!