Transitioning back to the real world after the holidays

Hey, I’m not sure if you noticed, but…

The holidays are over. Over like my eggs at an overpriced Sunday brunch. Over like me and New Year’s Eve parties. Over like the blood-alcohol limit of the insane driver who ran off the road in front of us two days before Christmas, then abandoned his truck on the side of the highway and ran away. Sure, there are some 3-day weekends in January and February to tide us over, but none of them involve Hallmark movies or pie. (BRB, campaigning to make Presidents’ Day Pie happen.)

How do we transition? How do we let go of what we lost (weeks of unproductivity and midday naps)? I’m trying out a few ideas:

Treat it like a breakup: January hurts. So does the demise of a serious relationship. Those winter holidays misled you. Like all men, they buttered you up with lavish presents, cozy fires, and decadent desserts, only to leave you cold and penniless in the end. Forget them! It’s like they only care about you for two months, then ignore you for the rest of the year! RUDE. Listen, you don’t need them. You can make your own fire, whenever you want, probably. I mean unless you live in an apartment, or a house without a chimney, or in a city, where it’s like ‘What even is firewood? Is that another name for old magazines?’ (Answer: I think so). January is not THE END for you, it’s a NEW BEGINNING. I know no one has ever told you that before, but it’s true. Make this year about you, and the perfect fire you made — all by yourself — out of unread issues of Runner’s World in the alley behind your apartment building. Breathe it in. (Oops, not too deeply, there are a lot of toxic chemicals in those magazines.) That’s the smell of someone who doesn’t need holidays to bring them happiness, and can work 5 days in a row without going ballistic. That’s the smell of A NEW YOU. And chemicals. Go back inside.

Channel your holiday spirit elsewhere: Does it feel like the holiday season is the only time you care about anyone other than yourself? Is it the only period in which you expend the effort to make your home cheery and beautiful, or to prepare meals that take longer than 15 minutes and involve more than three ingredients? That’s fine. But what if you took that weird, unnatural holiday energy and directed it elsewhere during the rest of the year? I have heard, for example, that you can call your family on non-holidays, and they will sometimes still answer the phone. I have, in addition, received mail from friends on a Tuesday, frantically checked the calendar to find out which holiday it was, and learned that it was just a regular, non-festive day of the week. Also, I have this husband, right, who gives his sibling a present every year on his birthday, which is not even a holiday, not really. What?? Try this for yourself, and post the results on Snapchat exactly one month from now with the hashtag #hitemwiththeholidayspirit. The results may surprise you. 

Convince yourself that holidays actually suck: By now, we’ve all read enough issues of O, the Oprah Magazine to consider ourselves certified mental health professionals, so we all know about reverse psychology. Holidays are kind of dumb, when you think about it. Why are all the major Christian holidays all bunched up at the end of the year? <pretends not to know about Easter, or other religions> Poor planning, Christians. Rookie move. I for one am THRILLED when they’re over. I don’t need something to “look forward to” all year. I live in the now, and look forward to the now, which is impossible. I’m very complex. Next year, I’m not even going to eat anything fancy on Thanksgiving or Christmas. I don’t want to give those regular-ass days the satisfaction. Next Christmas, you can catch me at Five Guys, drinking a non-festive milkshake that I *do* have to feel bad about because I don’t get a free pass since there is nothing special about this time of year. Oh, AND, tttttttttttttttttttttttttt… Sorry, I passed out on the keyboard. This option is absurd. Holidays are awesome.

The nuclear bear option: You’ve exhausted all other possibilities. Like with all post-breakup empowerment pep talks, you felt good about your split with the holidays for about one week before you started watching The Spirit of Christmas on Netflix all day every day until you could recite the dialogue from memory in the shower. Then you cried and bought all the Egg Nog flavored ice cream in the freezer case because WHO KNOWS when you’ll see it again (probably September). Being a good friend and family member year-round also turned out to be more work than you thought, and created these strange expectations that you’d give everyone a present on their birthday, and you definitely can’t afford that. You can afford a lot of things – like receiving food in the mail so you never have to go to the grocery store, pole dancing lessons, discount ball gowns – but not that. Your only option at this point is to hibernate until the next holiday season, also known as the Nuclear Bear Option. The pros are the best sleep of your LIFE, and the cons are that the pay is not great and consists almost entirely of foraged berries.

Good luck out there, dormant bears friends. Happy 2018!

Chugach Mountains, Alaska (Credit: Me)

2 thoughts on “Transitioning back to the real world after the holidays

  1. Joyce Bylander

    I laughed until I choked!! Hallmark is trying to wean us with some stupid “Winterfest” movies which are supposed to help us until the Valentine movies. But we just saw all these same people in wonderful holiday movies with different partners and families THAT WE LIKED MUCH BETTER! I’m leaning toward option 1 or 3. It is just too much!!

  2. Connie Daniel Daniel

    You never disappoint me with your writings. I choosing the nuclear bear option. I’ll just sleep in until I have to start the craziness all over again. ( I will be eating a lot of egg nog ice cream.)

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