Monday, 30 December 2013

Post-Christmas hang over

It's that time of year again. The post-Christmas hangover. No, not the alcoholic type hangover, it’s the emotional and physical hangover that catches up with you on the day after Boxing Day. The day when you realise you don't have to quickly rush out to the shops for another roll of sticky tape, or wrap another present or make some ridiculous Christmas dessert or have an over the phone counselling session with a family member who is on the edge of a Christmas breakdown.

After going and going for weeks on end, it’s very easy to just crash. That's what I did post-Christmas. I spent the day after Boxing Day drawing pretty flowers and birds on a piece of paper. I put myself into a day of "me therapy." I ended up being in some weird, trance-like state drawing for about three hours that day. Did I mention I am a terrible drawer? But who cares? It just felt so good to do something creative and just sit still.

It also seems to be on this day each year that everyone gets all reflective and starts talking about what they'll do differently next year. Each year without fail, my husband and I usually discuss how next year we'll make it “simpler”, you know, just have a barbeque and no presents. Yet, 12 months later this discussion is always completely forgotten as we get caught up in the commericalised  frenzy, the spirit of Christmas once more. Oh the joy!

Also on this day after Boxing Day, there is usually a phone call from various family members who debrief about different stressful incidents over Christmas and how they would also do things differently. Those words "simpler" and "less stressful" come up again. But as always it's forgotten. Just as women are wired to not fully remember the pain of labour, western civilisation must be wired to forget about what really goes on at Christmas until we hit December again the following year. We soon begin to race like frenzied rats around the shops, buying plastic presents and Christmas decorations made in China; we indulge in buying copious amounts of food we would never usually eat and then we emotionally invest everything into this one day once again.

Often, my husband and I walk away from Christmas gatherings and realise we didn’t get a chance to catch up with family members and distant relatives. This is partially because we have children to chase after but mainly because once the food is prepared, cooked, everything cleaned and presents exchanged, it’s time to go home again.  

Right now, you may be thinking I am a little bah humbug-ish. The truth is I do love Christmas time despite all of its flaws. I love the chance to reflect on the birth of Jesus, sing carols that are centuries old, visit the Christmas lights with the kids, and watch their eyes light up at their presents on Christmas day. I even love meeting up with various family members at Christmas. Although Christmas Day is usually hectic and tiring, I love it because it’s tradition. It’s what we’ve done as a family for my entire life and it’s gives me a sense of belonging.

My little family enjoyed visiting the Christmas lights

I hope you and your family had a wonderful Christmas. Is there anything you vow to change about Christmas and never do? Or have you made some significant changes that have worked? I’d love to hear about it.


  1. We had Christmas day at home this year with just my mum, sister and nephew joining us. Mr A's parents dropped by and then boxing day we had lunch with them and my mother. It was all so relaxed and throughly enjoyable. Having said that though with my youngest now heading towards four I do notice things seemed to have slowed down a lot in many ways compared to when there were babies to look after so maybe that was the difference.

    Wishing you and your family all the very best for 2014 may it be filled with fairy wishes and butterfly kisses. Swinging by from #IBOT

  2. They don't call it the silly season for nothing! Good on you for doodling for three hours, sometimes it really is just the simple things that count :)
    Have fun simplifying next christmas lol

  3. Last year I said to my partner that this year needed to be about us. We have traveled every year for the last 4 years and it was time to just stay home and enjoy our family. We told family that if they wanted to join us they were more than welcome but we ended up just having us for the day. We did everything to our own timetable and there was no was glorious!

  4. Every year we throw away sooooo much meat and I always swear that the next year I will no overcater. You are right - every year I get caught up in the Christmas frenzy and do it again!

  5. There is something so glorious about the business of Christmas! It just completely overwhelms and encapsulates you. :)
    I crashed too though. With inlaws up and lots more actual paid work than usual, I was completely wiped!

  6. One thing I love that my family has done in the past few years is really cut down the presents. We go to my mum's for Christmas day, and this year my sister and brother (and their families) were both there too. But, we only do presents for the kids, and they do small, usually hand made presents for those giving to them (ie grandparents, aunts and uncles). This year they all got either lip balm or body butter. That still seems like a lot actually, but it's a lot less than when we had to come up with "proper" presents for each grandparent, aunt and uncle, as well as cousins. Which means there's more time left for just hanging out, catching up, letting the kids play while we chat.

    Still, with more than a dozen people it's still a lovely big day, and we still crash on boxing day too - it's a day to put together the lego or whatever you may have got, read new books, and just rest up at home :)

  7. Hello Mummy! I totally get how you feel. I have those feelings to whenever it's the end of Christmas. Good thing Christmas never really ends here in the North Pole. It's just that there is no big celebration anymore..

    Elfie, Leader of the Elves at Christmas World