It’s the Day After Christmas.
The gifts have been opened.
The food has been eaten (well, except for a few cookies you’ve been holding back for today!).
Your guests have started to return home.
And, you’re feeling a bit overwhelmed by the mess and a bit glum that it’s all over.
At least, that’s how I usually feel. I love the Christmas season, and it’s hard after preparing, planning and celebrating all through the beginning of December to just stop, pack it all up, and call it over. While some families want to put away their decor and move on into the new year with a clean house, in our home we leave our decorations up until after New Year’s Day, extending our time of celebration.
But, there’s still the question of what to do in the days leading up to and after New Year’s Day.
That’s where Christmastide comes in (No, not Christmas time…Christmastide.)
Christmastide is biblically the time from Christmas Day until January 6, and traditionally is the truer reference for the Twelve Days of Christmas, a continued celebration of the Christmas season. In its simplest form, families historically rest, pray, and participate in activities that recognize how Jesus came to us in human form and the many ways others dedicated their lives to his teachings. In doing some research, I’ve found that many churches, cultures, and countries still celebrate this time at the end of the year.
I like this tradition, and I appreciate the continuation of the season for my family. The beauty of it is that as a group or an individual, you can zero in on a specific theme, scripture, project, or goal without losing focus on the purpose of the season. It allows you to look at each day as a chance to love a little more, give a little more, share a little more, rest a little more, or reflect a little more.
I found some help and ideas at www.forthefamily.org that I like, including a list of themes that could be assigned to each day and activities that could be used. The list helped me think about a few others I could use with my family, such as reading about the meaning of each family member’s name, taking part in a random act of kindness, appreciating nature, and more.[I especially liked the treasure hunt for the Joy-themed day and the “media free” idea for the Peace-themed day…although, I probably would be the one struggling with this more than my other family members. Just speaking the truth!]
It’s my hope that by incorporating Christmastide into the final days of December and the beginning of January, we as a family will find meaning and joy in being together, making new memories, and still celebrating the Reason for this special Season.
I hope that the days after Christmas are a wonderful time of reflection, respite, and refueling for you and yours. Maybe incorporating Christmastide into each day will lift your spirits and give you a purpose that you feel was missing in the days leading up to the new year.
And, if you already celebrate Christmastide, we would love for you to share how you take part in this time of year and hear your day-to-day ideas.