the afterholidays

December 29, 2013 |  Category:   holidays life nyc








It’s been really quiet this week. Just the kind of thing you need when you’re coming down from a marathon high. If I was once convinced that I couldn’t sit around and do nothing for a few days because it made me antsy, then I would tell you now that I absolutely can. I’ve slept 7-8 hours each night – still going to bed ridiculously late, but getting up at 9am or even later. The girls have too on most days except for Christmas morning, of course. It feels like a luxury, dampened slightly by all the work that I know is looming as soon as the New Year rings in. It’s pretty hard to ramp back up after you’ve had some time off.


Did you have a good Christmas? We opened presents in the morning, went to a movie, and had dinner with my parents and a cousin. Despite my best intentions, I can’t help feel a slight twinge of melancholy when Christmas day finally rolls around. It’s been like that since I was a kid. Can’t quite explain why, but it’s almost like there’s this pressure to have this perfect Christmas with the family, you know, like the kind you see in commercials because this is what we’re being shown everywhere we look. But instead, it seems to magnify everything that it’s not. Maybe it’s the fact that the big extended family no longer gets together anymore like when we were kids so you feel that absence, or the fact that siblings and other family members are on the other side of the country. Or maybe it’s because the problems and dysfunction of a family doesn’t go away just because its Christmas day. Pretty heavy for a holiday, especially for a teenager to start realizing. It’s the reason why I like the days before and after the holiday so much more. The pressure is off.
But the excitement of the kids are contagious and I don’t have to look far to see that the girls don’t feel any of the Christmas baggage that I do. I wondered about that the other week when they both refused to take a photo with Santa, who was coaxing them to come over for a visit. Granted, the illusion wasn’t convincing as I pulled a black bobby pin from his fake beard and handed it back to him, but it did make me realize that we never really did play up the Santa bit when they were younger, never left cookies out for him the night before, or write Santa letters. I never did that as a kid; I never believed in Santa and it occurred to me when the girls were giving me side glances as Santa was trying to talk to them that maybe they never believed in Santa either (but the Easter Bunny! They still both think is real).
I walked home with the kids right after the Santa incident thinking that I hadn’t done enough to make Christmas magical. I worried that they were too focused on the present giving part, but on Christmas morning they gave us boxes of the most thoughtful handmade gifts they had made for us and each other and knew that none of that was true. So yes, Christmas was really nice and now we’re just enjoying the quiet before the world wakes up again on January 2nd. Hope you are having a nice week too.

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  • cantaloupe December 30, 2013 at 2:37 am

    I think you’re right, Christmas can never live up to the expectations of it. I dislike it for the same reason. I feel like I have to keep reminding myself to see the positive in it. But there were positives, of course, once I stopped expecting extraspecial shiny magic. I hope you have a great new year!

  • Rachel December 31, 2013 at 3:38 pm

    I’ve never liked Christmas Day nearly as much as the weeks leading up to it…after all of that buildup, it’s usually a letdown, plus once it actually arrives that means it’s all over and you have to wait a whole year for the holiday magic to roll around again (although each year seems to be passing more and more quickly, so it no longer seems like that much of a wait). That’s awesome that they don’t believe in Santa but they believe in the Easter Bunny. Strange how kids’ minds work =]

  • Nina December 31, 2013 at 4:02 pm

    Well, if the holiday adds pressure, so does the official beginning of a new year! May your New Year be full of light moments and successful projects! Thank you for all your good writings and good photos here.
    (from a regular reader)

  • Jenna December 31, 2013 at 8:00 pm

    Happy New Year, friends. Appreciate your comments.

  • nanne December 31, 2013 at 9:29 pm

    christmas day has such a huge build up, especially now with all of the blog posts of the most beautiful, but “oh-so-simple christmas gatherings”:)!

    i do love christmas day and the time leading up to it. but, as a parent, it is exhausting and a little stressful to plan all of that magic and happiness (kind of like being the live-in walt disney).

    my absolute favorite day of the holiday season is new years day.

    we keep it low key. no plans, all day pajamas are fine. if there is a great movie everyone wants to see, we’ll do that. otherwise it’s naps, t.v. parades, old movies, football, fires, black eyed peas & collard greens & slow cooked boston butt on the grill–no gifts, no schedule, just fam & anyone who wants to drop in and just chill. did i mention p.j.’s all day?