5 Things to Do the Day after Christmas
- Malinda Fuller Author
- 2016 21 Dec
If you are British or Canadian, chances are you've grown up observing Boxing Day. Several European countries also consider December 26th the "Second Christmas Day,” or St. Stephen's Day; but for most of us reading, Christmas will dawn, madness will ensue, and the following morning we will wake up with the post-Christmas blues because it's all over. We spend a month or longer, decorating and cooking, buying and gifting, baking, listening to music and snuggling in front of the fire and movies, and then, in one 24-hour period, it's over.
The "day after Christmas holiday" is a tradition that many adhere to (and are returning to) even if there is no mandated day off. Most people use this extra day to stretch out the holiday because— it's worth savoring. Some take the whole "12 Days of Christmas," from December 25th to January 5th, for vacation, to be with family and to plan for the New Year. The Christmas tree does not come down right away, decorations stay out for the first week of the New Year, and relatives aren't forced to return home and resume normal schedules after a one-day reprieve.
While this is a luxury for some and not all, there are several ways that anyone can savor this magnificent season of Christmas. In case you want to spend more time savoring, or need an idea of what to do the day after Christmas, perhaps these ideas will help you:
It’s been a month or more of preparations. This is a day to rest. To stay in your pajamas, lounge over extra cups of cocoa or coffee, linger over meals that are shared in a relaxed fashion. Take the day slowly and don't say yes to anything that isn't urgent. Play with your kids, take a nap, order in pizza for dinner, let the house get messy. Whatever you do, take the time to recharge yourself and be present with those you love most.
This is the time of year to look back over all the blessings that have come your way. Good news from the doctor, promotions at work, milestones for the kids, travels and adventures, personal growth, the list could be a mile long. Start collecting those blessings, either on paper or in your head, and watch as your cup overflows.
Remember why you’ve just spent a month preparing. Yes, the holidays are fun: having an excuse to be generous towards others, to travel, to see family are all good traditions, but Jesus is the reason for the season. Read the story with fresh eyes. Ponder how Joseph must have felt; consider what happened next for him and Mary. Immerse yourself in the idea that Christmas changed everything—not just for a day, or a season, but forever. It can be continual prayers whispered to God, or an hour walking and talking to Him freely; however it looks for you, spend some time rejoicing in the Gift He gave so freely.
Take in the day with loved ones. Enjoy another treat baked with love. Snuggle deeper into the couch with your family. Go for a walk and admire the lights, or the winter wonderland. Pull out and enjoy some of those gifts from the previous day: watch the movie, crack open the new book, put on the hat and mittens and play outside, get into the kitchen and make something delicious with the new gadgets that Santa left in your stocking, play with the new camera or toy that was thoughtfully picked out and purchased for you. Find a way not just to rest, but to truly savor the season before it melts into the freshness of the New Year.
Prepare your heart for the New Year. After you’ve spent time reflecting on the months that just passed, what does your mind land on? Is there a word that resonates in your heart? What thought or idea bubbles up from inside of you with anticipation for the next year? Write it down and take time thinking about how this one idea is going to shape the coming months. How can you ready yourself for what is to come?
Whether you are traveling home, or hunkering down for the rest of the week, regardless of what you’ve just walked through, or what lies ahead, Christmas is the perfect time of year for us to rest, reflect, rejoice, relish and ready ourselves. What are you going to be doing the day after Christmas?
Pray with me:
Father, after the music has faded, the gifts have been opened, and the food has been eaten, You are there— waiting for us to recognize that Jesus wasn't a one-time, one-use gift given hastily, with strings attached. He was given, freely and generously. Help us to embrace this thought at Christmas, and help us to savor this season and not rush through it. May we rest and rejoice with loved ones, reflect and ready ourselves; may our days be spent relishing all that Christmas means.
Malinda Fuller and her husband Alex have served at several churches and para-church organizations in the U.S. and Canada for over a decade. Malinda wields truth and grace through the words on her blog and has also contributed content for Relevant, Thrive Moms and The Influence Network. Malinda and Alex currently reside in Southern California, where they are homeschooling their daughters, working in ministry and trying to not complain about the continuous sunshine.
Photo courtesy: Thinkstockphotos.com
Publication date: December 21, 2016