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By Cheryl Bac

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About this blog: I'm a wife, stay-at-home mom, home cook, marathon runner, and PhD. I recently moved to the Silicon Valley after completing my PhD in Social Psychology and becoming a mother one month apart. Before that, I ran seven marathons incl...  (More)

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Letting Christmas Linger

Uploaded: Jan 17, 2020
Our youngest was a bit confused when Christmas abruptly ended. Where did all the holiday lights go? Why weren’t we doing our advent calendar anymore? Why were we taking down our tree and decorations?

Thankfully some houses kept their Christmas lights up for a bit after winter break. And thankfully we still had a couple of Christmas books from the library.

While we usually end our Christmas celebrations on December 25th, I realized that there was no reason to stop celebrating so quickly. I wanted our kids to remember all of these small Christmas traditions not just the quick energetic opening of gifts on Christmas morning. Why not let these simple traditions linger just a bit longer?

So in January we sang the occasional Christmas song at bedtime, read a small pile of Christmas stories and admired the handful of houses that still had Christmas lights up. And, as expected, we’ve moved on, left Christmas behind, and gotten back into our regular rhythm again.

While I’m not sure how often I will sing Christmas songs in January, I realized that our daughter will probably remember singing these songs much more than she’ll remember which gifts she opened on Christmas morning. And, because of that, I was happy to let Christmas linger for a bit longer this year.
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Posted by Good Thinking!, a resident of Adobe-Meadow,
on Jan 17, 2020 at 12:22 pm

In many cultures, January 6, Epiphany, is the end of Christmas. It is the day when tradition says the Magi visited baby Jesus and brought him gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh. In many cultures, this is the day for gift giving. In the song, the 12 days of Christmas, December 25 is the first day of Christmas and January 6 is the last. All days leading up to December 25 is called Advent. Many cultures do not start celebrations until at least the evening of December 24.

For many who end their celebrations on Christmas Day and take down decorations on 12/26, they are continuing a trend of ending with Christmas Day rather than beginning. In our extended family, the arrival of the baby is the beginning rather than the end of the celebrations. Nowadays baby showers are held before the baby is born, but no so long ago they were always after the baby was born when it was known if the new arrival was male or female and gifts could be bought accordingly. Taking meals, visiting the new family, helping with childcare so that the new mom could get some sleep or a few hours away for a meal out or a few errands without baby in tow, are always appreciated more than a visit or celebration before baby is born.

When I think of how Christmas is celebrated, it is all about the before and never the after. When we think of a baby's arrival, it is the time after the baby has arrived safely that is important.

Perhaps as you discuss with your family the true meaning of Christmas, about celebrating the birth of a special baby, about the celebrations of a special event, about the extra job that comes from the arrival of such an event, it may make your time talking to your children that much more special in January.

One other suggestion, keep all your Christmas cards you received (or emails, etc.) and each day you have time at dinner time take one and read it to the children talking about the people who sent it, how you know them, some fun stories about them, and enjoying the time thinking about the old friendship. By the time you have gone through the pile, you will have shared a lasting joyful reminder that Christmas takes place each year and there will be another Christmas when everyone is a year older and spent time doing other things during the year.

 +   7 people like this
Posted by Judy, a resident of Downtown North,
on Jan 17, 2020 at 12:47 pm

Wow. Christmas lasts for a long time in your house. You start christmas craft projects and make christmas lists before thanksgiving and continue singing christmas songs in January. Two months of Christmas celebration.

Maybe start a tradition just after christmas that your kids will look forward to, like drinking hot chocolate and playing games after you take down the decorations. Or since you start celebrating christmas a month early, why not put up valentine decorations the day you take down your christmas tree! That way your kids won't be disappointed. And the day after valentine's day start coloring easter eggs!

I've noticed that spring flowers start to become available in January. Why not place tulips, paperwhites, etc. around your house in anticipation of spring, which arrives early in CA. I find it very refreshing and uplifting to have fragrant paperwhites around after taking down the Christmas tree. You can also plant daffodil and tulip bulbs in your yard with your children and then go out for pizza. They will have fun watching the bulbs grow, which might take their minds off of the post Christmas blues. There are so many creative traditions you can start in January without prolonging Christmas.

 +   7 people like this
Posted by Cheryl Bac, a Palo Alto Online blogger,
on Jan 17, 2020 at 4:05 pm

Cheryl Bac is a registered user.

Good Thinking! - Thanks for commenting. I enjoyed reading your thoughts about celebrating after Jesus’ birth. What great reminders about how new parents need a village to support them as they care for a little one. It reminded me of this article https://www.washingtonpost.com/lifestyle/2019/12/10/lets-give-new-parents-what-they-really-need-how-update-traditional-baby-shower/

Judy - Thanks for commenting. Yes, Christmas is definitely one of our bigger holidays. I like your idea to drink hot chocolate and play games after taking down the decorations. Thanks for sharing your creative ideas for January traditions. Spring is right around the corner.

 +   7 people like this
Posted by musical, a resident of Palo Verde,
on Jan 18, 2020 at 9:46 pm

^ Better wait two weeks and see what the groundhog says.

 +   5 people like this
Posted by Cheryl Bac, a Palo Alto Online blogger,
on Jan 19, 2020 at 9:07 am

Cheryl Bac is a registered user.

Musical - Let’s hope he doesn’t see his shadow and spring comes soon.

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