Goins, Writer

On Writing, Ideas, and Making a Difference

The Best Way to Overcome Those Post-Christmas Blues

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This is a difficult season, the week after Christmas. It’s a mini-season of limbo, an awkward in-between time, and people have different ways of dealing with it.

Post Christmas Blues

Photo credit: Anthony Kelly (Creative Commons)

Some are still running on fumes from the emotional high that opening presents and seeing family brought. They may even try to extend the holiday an extra week, with varying degrees of success.

Others feel guilty for over-indulging in holiday sweets and are on a weeklong shame fest. They are already starting to make those New Year’s resolutions.

Even others are dealing with the disappointment of another year gone by, another December 25 come and gone, and a lingering feeling of emptiness after the last gift is unwrapped.

For years, I felt this way about Christmas, and to an extent, still sometimes do.

There is so much hype and expectation, building up to a single day. How does it live up to its potential? And what do we do the days after Christmas, when for many of us, a good old-fashioned case of the blues settles in?

Write about it

Capture your thoughts — yes, even your angst-ridden, Scroogey thoughts — and share them. Do it honestly and unapologetically.

If you feel something deep and dark, maybe even cynical, write about it. Use a notebook or laptop, and let yourself process the feelings without restraint.

In other words, grieve.

Did you have an amazing Christmas and you’re sad to see it go? Write about it. Did everyone get into a fight and yell at each other? Write about that, too.

Did you end the day, cynical and frustrated, not believing in the so-called “magic” of Christmas? Yes, write even about that.

And as you write, let go

As the memories and frustrations wash over you, let the feelings slip away. Honor them as they come. But don’t dwell on them. Be present to your emotions. And then, let them fade.

This is what grieving is for: not hanging on, but letting go.

Maybe you need to write a lament, like I did. This is a sort of anti-Christmas carol. Instead of singing of the joys of the coming holiday, mourn its passing — whether you loved it or hated it.

Have a funeral for this day of wonder and awe. Because it’s gone. And it won’t be coming back. You will never get this Christmas back.

So shed a tear or sing a “hallelujah.” Do whatever you need to do to let it go. There are 364 other days that need your attention; don’t dwell in the past or on the future. Focus on where you are right now.

Writing (or any creative act) can help you with this.

Ways to work through the blues

If you get stuck, here are some ideas:

  • Write a poem about the feelings you felt right after opening presents. Disappointment? Anger? Release? Capture them in words.
  • Write a complaint letter to Santa Claus about your disillusionment. What really miffs you about this holiday? Tell the old fat man “how it is.”
  • Write a blog post, describing Christmas day, without all the fluffy exaggerations. Be honest. If you didn’t like a gift, say so. Write what we’re all thinking.
  • If you’re so inclined, write a sad song and sing it aloud — for yourself or others to hear.
  • Pray a prayer that allows you to grieve the passing of the day, while still honoring its importance.
  • Paint a picture, listen to music, or do some woodworking. Just create something. Anything.

This is how we work through disappoint and overcome tragedy. We grieve. We process. We pay attention to what we’re feeling, so that we can move on. We own our feelings, so they don’t own us.

This is healthy. This is right. This is necessary.

Be brave today (and the days following Christmas); learn to grieve and let go. There is a wonderful lesson about life and loss to be learned here. If you will be present. If you will press in, mourn, and move on.

Or you can just go shopping and watch TV — it’s your call.

How do you overcome the post-Christmas blues? If you do write something, feel free to share it in the comments (here’s mine).

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About Jeff Goins

I help people tell better stories and make a difference in the world. My family and I live outside of Nashville, TN. Follow me on Twitter, Facebook, or Google Plus. To get updates and free stuff, join my newsletter.

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  • Karen

    Good advice. I have something weighing on my mind. I think I’ll take a moment today to “pray write” about it.

    • http://goinswriter.com/ Jeff Goins

      Very cool. Would love to see your work if you feel comfortable sharing.

  • http://www.hopestillfloats.wordpress.com/ Hope Naomi

    Mmmm great post.

    • http://goinswriter.com/ Jeff Goins

      Mmmmm. Thank you. I take my own advice this afternoon (another post coming in a few hours).

  • http://patwashington.blogspot.com/ Pat Washington

    But Jeff, there are twelve days of Christmas.  It’s the Christmas season.  Retailers may want people to believe that it all hangs on the 25th and then it is over but that’s just not true.  Even the wise men didn’t make it by the 25th.  Further, I don’t think Jesus would mind a bit if we celebrated his incarnation on any day the spirit moves us.  ;-)

    • http://patwashington.blogspot.com/ Pat Washington

      So…maybe I should write about that, huh?

      • http://goinswriter.com/ Jeff Goins

        Yep

        • http://www.patwashington.blogspot.com Pat Washington

          So I wrote a little about it, but it’s hokey, I think.  Too much post-surgery percocet and Christmas cookies, I think.

          • http://goinswriter.com/ Jeff Goins

            hah! still would love to hear it.

    • http://goinswriter.com/ Jeff Goins

      Right, Pat. This is what I’m learning.

  • http://www.eileenknowles.com/ Eileen

    Write about it…I knew you were gonna say that!  And its good advice.  I used to get those after holiday/vacation blues quite a bit.  Not so much anymore.  I’m slowly learning to live expectantly without expectations, if that makes sense.  If I have preconceived notions of the “perfect” holiday or vacation…I will be disappointed.  But remembering to live in the moment has been a great alternative and a great way to avoid the blues. 

    • http://goinswriter.com/ Jeff Goins

      ah yes. expectancy versus expectation. very good.

  • Joni

    Thank
    you Jeff, for saying what many of us are thinking. Due to health reasons I
    cannot work a “regular job”, therefore, I can no longer buy gifts or food to
    cook big meals. Although I live in the same town as most of my family, I am
    unable to socialize with them at this time (psychiatrist orders).

    Due to
    a miracle, my son, the only one who does not judge my illnesses (mental health)
    was able to come in from LA and spend two weeks with me. He and I are both poor
    financially but we realize there is more to God’s world than money. We are
    living our dreams by working our artistic abilities. His gift to me was yard
    work and home maintenance and I gave him a homemade gift.

    This
    has helped me realize (once again) the true meaning of Christmas. I believe if
    the Son of God can survive birth in a stable, I can deal with a three-foot
    plastic tree with no presents and no responsibilities but to focus on the
    Reason for the Season.

    Bless
    You,

    Joni

    • http://goinswriter.com/ Jeff Goins

      I love that, Joni.

    • http://www.patwashington.blogspot.com Pat Washington

      Joni, most of my Christmases within the past decade have been a bit rough. This Christmas and last I have been recovering from surgeries, so I feel for you when you say you “can deal with a three-foot plastic tree with no presents and no responsibilities but to focus on the Reason for the Season.”  In a way, isn’t that freeing?  We have the perfect opportunity to “be still, and know that [He is] God.”
      My prayers for your return to good health and satisfaction in your artistic endeavors.

      • Brown Joni

        The same to you Pat. Yes, it is freeing.

  • http://www.publicationcoach.com/ Daphne Gray-Grant

    Hmm, I think I’d say: Don’t ever pin all your hopes on one day, one manuscript, one person. What REALLY counts is what you do day after day for the entire year! For writers I’d ask: Are you writing every day (and by that I mean five days a week), are you keeping your writing SEPARATE from your self-editing and are you able to write without pre-judging what you’re producing. If you can do all of these things, then I don’t think you’ll need to suffer from any “blue” days! 

    • http://goinswriter.com/ Jeff Goins

      Hmmm… I think there’s wisdom there, Daphne, but this also runs the risk of glossing over the pain and angst a lot of people feel around the holidays. There’s something to that, I think.

    • Joni

      If that were only possible for some people. I would give up a lot to not have depression and other illnesses.

      • David Whittacre

        Joni – It sounds to me like you have already given up a lot.  My illnesses kept me in my apartment alone, kind of like you, but I found distractions.  I watched two DVD movies that I had just gotten, and my favorite Christmas movie, “The Christmas Story” played all day on TBS, so it was just a TV day for me.  It takes up time, and it distracts.  AND, of course, there’s always napping.  Depressed people can do that very well, and I should know because of my clinical depression.  It’s a bummer, isn’t it?  So, next year load up on DVD’s or VHS tapes, and prepare by having some good food around.  Reach out to people, even if you don’t know them so well.  Maybe they can help with the movies and food and munchies.  Church groups are always looking for people like you…someone they can help in some way…even if there’s no affiliation with that church for you.  Reach out…

  • Izarradar

    Nice post, Jeff. And so true—writing is like a salve that soothes the pain.

    • http://goinswriter.com/ Jeff Goins

      indeed.

  • Anthony Ferraioli, M.D.
  • http://twitter.com/ConnieJakab Connie Jakab

    I wrote about it here: I wrote about it here: http://culturerebel.com/?p=1149

    • http://goinswriter.com/ Jeff Goins

      loved it.

  • http://joedegiorgio.com/ Joe D.

    Thanks for inspiring me to write a bit about this, Jeff. Here’s the link: http://joedegiorgio.com/2011/12/27/so-this-is-christmas/

  • Betty Griffith

    Thank you, Jeff. As Joni said, there are many who have the same thoughts. However, if I didn’t have my church family, Christmas would be a very difficult time. When our daughters were born (34 and 32 years ago) our daily lives took a direct hit. We had ups and downs. And while we had warnings, we couldn’t always plan very far in advance with any assurance that our plans would come to fruition. You see, both were born with Cystic Fibrosis. Talk about a short and severe learning curve! I think through the years there wasn’t one season, holiday, or birthday that at some time wasn’t spent sick before, during or after or in the hospital.  But we managed to get through. They graduated from high school and college and our younger daughter even married her high school sweetheart!

    Then eight years ago she contracted the flu (remember the awful bird flu?). That was her second married Christmas and she was in the hospital. By New Year’s Day she was in ICU. And on January 9 she went Home to be with Jesus.

    In the years since, there have been struggles. But Christmas has never been the hardest – it was her birthday, her engagement day, her wedding day, the sunny day in January (God has always given us a sunny day), the day she learned to walk or even the day she walked as a college graduate.

    Long ago BC (before children), we began some traditions for Christmas and those we have continued. One that is so near and dear is our Christmas breakfast with a couple from our church. It used to include my husband’s parents until their passing. We took turns hosting! The “center piece” of the menu is breakfast pizza – we all love it! It is always so much fun to just be together for a short time Christmas morning before we all move on to other plans of the day. Now we have another family who joins us. And we create many good memories. It is these stories that are the gifts. The things that sustained us. The stories we are able to look back on and think about and that help us through the difficult times.

    • Brown Joni

      I am so sorry to hear of the lost of your child. They will always be our children no matter how old they are. Loved ones I have known that have lost children of any age explain that their world is never the same. They can experience happiness and life does go on but things will never, ever be the same. How could they be?  That she is with Jesus has got to be your saving Grace without her. My friends tell me it helps when I bring up their lost children’s names and memory. They are already thinking about them and it helps to know others are also.
      Peace to you,
      Joni

  • http://www.nginaotiende.blogspot.com Ngina Otiende

    Thank you for the inspiration Jeff.

    Here’s the link to the post  http://nginaotiende.blogspot.com/2011/12/overcoming-my-christmas-blues-welcoming.html

  • Pingback: Post-Christmas Lament « Melinda Williams

  • Melinda Williams

    I needed that boost of inspiration. Thanks. Here’s my thoughts on the recent Christmas season: http://wmelinda.wordpress.com/2011/12/28/post-christmas-lament/

    • http://goinswriter.com/ Jeff Goins

      thanks, Melinda!

  • Pingback: The Post That Never Happened: Rx for Harried Minds During Advent”

  • http://hugmomma.blogspot.com/ Hugmomma

    I’m originally from Louisiana, so there is no time for the blues. It is time to prepare for the coming of the wise men next week, which means time to clean up Christmas and convert it to Mardi Gras. King cake parties will begin next week. Another day and another way to celebrate Jesus.

    • http://goinswriter.com/ Jeff Goins

      Love it!

  • http://twitter.com/cupojoegirl Eileen Knowles

    Nice post, Jeff.  I had to write about the a sadness today too.  It’s been a few years since I’ve felt the tension between joy and sorrow so strongly on Christmas.  It felt good to put it into words.  I think some times we (I) buy into the lie that if we have hope and faith then it’s some how wrong to feel sad.  But acknowledging the sadness is very healing.  http://eileenknowles.com/riding-the-wave-of-hope/

  • Margaret

    Praying for a Merry Christmas Season and a Happy New Year to you!

    • http://goinswriter.com/ Jeff Goins

      right back at you, Margaret!

  • Carolyne Rohrig

    The day after Christmas.
    That’s when Letdown slips in.
    Usually around 7 a.m.
    It slithers under the door wearing grey.
    “You dashed expectations for another year,” Letdown whispers in my ear.
    I slice through the wrapping paper, limp bows, and empty boxes on the living room floor on my way to the kitchen for coffee.
    Come to think of it, gifts and food and twinkling Christmas lights are appealing but there’s no magic in them.
    The magic comes in the shape of people, with one person in particular, and he was poor and marginalized from birth.
    “I’m in good company. Jesus dashed all expectations, too,” I tell Letdown.
    He has no response and slinks away.

    • http://goinswriter.com/ Jeff Goins

      i like it.

  • airdizzy43

    No blues — just a little  surprised how, as a parent, December now zips by.

    http://joeyg43.blogspot.com/2012/12/on-first-day-after-christmas.html

  • http://twitter.com/nichts_anderes Andreas Reuter

    Maintaining composureEspecially in the holiday season love wants to be expressed in numerous ways. Generosity can be felt, compassion, and sympathy.There are deep feelings of bonding, connection, and warmth.Joy is present everywhere, paired with gratitude.An atmosphere of departure is in the air.And people are struggling to keep their human facade. The facade that shouldn’t be cracked, that shouldn’t wear too thin. The human composure that needs to be maintained.We mutually ensure ourselves to be human, with human feelings, human fears and human needs. What would happen, by the way, if you wouldn’t fight to maintain your human composure any longer? If you would allow this, what is present right now, to fully touch you?If you let yourself be flooded by all this generosity, this compassion, this love and the warmth.What would appear when you wouldn’t care about your composure for a moment?www.nothing-else.eu

  • http://www.davidfmckee.com David McKee

    Jeff, this post couldn’t have come at a better time (of course, it wouldn’t have come at another time, anyway).  My wife and I were discussing the post-Christmas letdown yesterday and I was surprised at how strong it was for me, this year.  Thanks for opening this up and reminding me – all of us – that we’re not alone.

  • http://www.beduwen.com/ Beduwen

    Another great, thought-provoking post. I had something on my mind but didn’t actually try to probe too deeply until I read this. Here are my thoughts on the matter:
    http://beduwen.com/2012/12/26/an-early-resolution/

  • http://www.ipaintiwrite.com/ Pamela Hodges

    I thought about your question all day yesterday. Well, some of the day. Here is my response.http://ipaintiwrite.com/2012/12/27/how-to-find-rest-in-real-life-not-the-game-of-life/

  • RuDee

    I miss my dad.

    That’s the default emotion when I’m stressed. When a work crisis flares up, when I’m on my period, when someone cancels a date at the last minute, when I’ve gone too long without eating. Beneath forty layers of functional adult with a full accessory kit, I

    As much as I like to pretend that I’m cooler than bitching about Christmas, the holidays are a stressor.

    We really weren’t close, me and Dad. I have this thing I say about our relationship, to sound like I’ve gained perspective on the whole thing: Nothing bad happened, but nothing really good happened, either.

    Missing your daddy is a privilege for smiling girls in soft sheen Polaroids. The ones whose fathers dutifully checked the oil in their cars before sending them off to college. I miss my dad implies that you have a good reason to mourn.

    Tears about my father are less of a tribute to our relationship as much as they’re a general wellness barometer. When I don’t have on all my armor, when something isn’t adjusted properly. Then, I miss my dad. This interpretation of grief often feels like a cop-out.

    Christmas Day: I feel fat in this jacket. People around me are acting out decade old power struggles while gift wrapping. I am a guest in someone’s home and can’t complain that their sweet potato pie is terrible. My dad made the best sweet potato pie. I miss my dad.

  • Carla

    Great post….Thank you for giving us the freedom to say, we are blue after Christmas. For me, I am so excited to see my family and give our gifts. It all goes so fast! We are all packing up the cars to get back to our homes for work the next day. It is hard…I just wish I could SLOW it down.
    Thanks for the post!
     

  • Smkeller777

    Its so true, the Christmas blues.I did not find Christmas this year though I Know its not found in “thing’s “but in a person.

  • Rachel Marie Brown

    I most certainly feel like this post was a big (and muchly needed) slap on the wrist.

    Honestly, I’ve been wallowing (this is why –> http://www.chattingatthesky.com/2012/12/19/how-to-pray-when-you-dont-know-how-to-pray/#comment-254382)

    And I have nothing to say but, “Thank You.”

    Gonna paint this weekend, perhaps I’ll tag it in a Tweet.

    Thought that’s been running through my mind lately about painting (and writing, for that matter): I get my hands dirty to keep my soul clean.

    Yes.

    – Rae, imchasingkitetails.com

  • http://www.zigazag.com/ Jo at ZigaZag

    The ham and turkey are but a memory, the wrapping paper recycled, the champagne all drunk!  My children are gone. And so I allow myself to grieve Christmas past, just for a day. Tears flow, regrets bubble, happy little poignant memories jerk at my heartstrings and I am faced once again with a normality that doesn’t have such huge expectations. But I am glad. For now it’s time to draw breath and move ahead with joy and happiness into 2013.  I wrote about Christmas here with a link to a beautiful lament post about Christmas that Jeff wrote too :) http://zigazag.com/farewell_christmas_hello_new_year/

  • jennypowell
  • http://deuceology.wordpress.com Larry Carter

    Jeff, I think that’s what people want: honesty.

  • elisabetta carrara

    thanks for sharing this, since I have met your blog I learned many things…..

  • Sharon

    Well, I disagree with you! I don’t feel Scroogey! My Christmas was delightful and I still enjoy the wonder of family, friends, and the babe in the manger. What a great time to ponder the year and explore the adventures ahead in 2014. Planning realistic goals and wants, boxing up the Christmas decor, and replacing with fresh adornments – that’s where my thoughts go. New opportunities, new friends, new ways to serve and thank God. Joy!

  • http://robyn-campbell.blogspot.com/ Robyn Campbell

    I had a wonderful time with my family. All here in the farm house together, but for a day. I wish it would be longer. No interruptions, just us. I will write a poem about having to say goodbye to it. We read the Christmas story. And we worshipped at The Feet of our risen SAVIOR. Thanks Jeff!

  • Debra Dylan

    The 12 days of Christmas begin Christmas Day and last through Jan. 6. Quietly celebrating the 12 days helps to make up for health issues and family drama that happened on Christmas Eve/day. Exercising outdoors is a great way to overcome the dreaded emotional impact of the holiday. I also enjoy watching quality cartoons will sipping on a hot chocolate.

  • Diane

    Thanks for this interesting topic Jeff. The past several Christmas seasons have been different for me. Our boys are grown, the oldest has developmental disabilities and though he still lives with us, isn’t too excited about Christmas preparations. The youngest is married now and lives in another state and there’s no grand kids yet. I find without the kids around I am going through a re-adjustment of what Christmas looks like for me. Here’s a post I wrote a few weeks ago that will explain where I’m at in the process:
    http://aplacecalledspecial.com/2013/12/10/whats-wrong-with-my-christmas-3/

  • Shelley Hess

    Hey, Jeff! Great ideas!! Something for everyone!
    Me? Full steam ahead on projects slated for January through March. By beginning early I (and my husband) am using time wisely, which always serves to encourage! Shall also take more time in the next few days focusing on the 2014 plan and its first few steps. This one’s extremely ‘ambitious’, even for us!!!

  • AnnieCarterUK

    I find that being out in the outdoors, absorbing nature’s sights and sounds, helps to infuse my soul with renewed energy after Christmas. Living in the UK means we often have some dull days at this time of year, which can get you down. Thankfully, this year we’ve had plenty of sunshine and it’s been great to head down to our local park or drive further afield into the countryside to invigorate the mind and body. It also helps to stir up the creative juices and start to focus on next year’s projects.

    • Joyce Glass

      Yes Annie! I went for a long walk, and worked out at the gym in my parents neighborhood with my sister. We walked back home… Long walk with hills.. Felt so good even though I am still a little sore today. Love getting some exercise! I needed it bad! I have not been to the gym or exercised at home for 2 months!

  • Jon Giordano

    Excerpt from my daily writing on Christmas Eve: You open that box and… then you wait for the next box to come. You open that box and… what next? Open your heart. It never needs to be wrapped nice and neat with a dainty bow. It’s there, now, forever expanding in each moment.

  • http://www.ergbennett.wordpress.com/ Erica Bennett

    I’m gearing up for my end-of-the-year de-clutter ritual. I don’t remember if I’ve done it in the past, but this year between Christmas and the New Year, I’ve been feeling a strong urge to get rid of all my unnecessary belongings and de-clutter my life. Besides, the more stuff I get rid of, the less stuff I have to move when my husband and I move out of his parents’ house. :P

  • Joyce Glass

    You make a great point Jeff. I began writing as a way of therapy for myself to process and get through a very painful time in my life. Since then, I journal my heart to God almost everyday. It helps to release it from my brain, and onto the keyboard. Many times God helps me focus on what is good, or speaks to my heart about what I can do to make things better. Sometimes, He simply says “Trust Me.”

    I have loved Christmas since I was a little girl. I was the nut that was always up at 4 am staring at the gifts, shaking them or if they were opened touching them. However, this year has been strange. I was so busy this December preparing for a book release and creating a new program online I barely had time to get Christmas shopping done. My house was barely decorated… and well no one received Christmas cards… Baking was non existent. I was sad with myself for not having the time or “making” the time. I finally slowed down this week, and had the best time with family. It was actually nice to go out of town, and spend time with my in-laws & my family. We all get along great with one little exception, and we worked through it. I am emotionally full & happy and wished I could have stayed longer. It was not the physical gifts, but the gift of laughter, time, and food with family that made it wonderful. I am blessed beyond measure, and know for many this is not the case.

    Merry Christmas Jeff! & Happy Happy New Year! I am self-publishing my first Bible Study, starting my first online program, and plan to let go of the part-time job by February! Praise the Lord for He is good!

    • http://www.TheDailyGPS.com/ Joyce Glass

      Thanks Jeff for starting Tribe Writers! The group and your inspiration has helped propel my writing! Can’t wait to see where I take off too in 2014!

  • http://kimanziconstable.com/ kimanzi constable

    Great idea Jeff, writing has gotten me through a lot of hard times and really digging the new look :)

  • Noell Thompson

    Amazing! Is there anyway I can interview Jeff? If so, please email me at noellt26@outlook.com

  • http://www.workyouenjoy.com/ Adam Rico

    You’re absolutely right Jeff. There is this in-between period from Christmas until the new year. I like to use that time to thank God for the blessings he provided in the past year and begin working on my goals for the coming year. Writing definitely helps to process everything in the past and everything the future has in store.

  • http://www.tracyline.com/ Tracy L

    Interesting. I don’t get that let down feeling after Christmas, I tend to be glad move on from all the craziness of the holiday. However, with all these comments, I see many people do experience the blues, and I couldn’t agree more that writing is great therapy. I journal almost daily and am pretty sure if I didn’t I’d be wound pretty tight!

  • http://www.skipprichard.com/ Skip Prichard

    Great perspective. I’m on the opposite spectrum, cruising at an really productive pace. I’m not as productive right before Christmas and then hit the week running.

    No blues — but I am keeping this post close by for when it hits sometime next year.

    • http://goinswriter.com/ Jeff Goins

      :)

  • Cherry Odelberg

    Good honest wisdom here. I agree.

  • Kulandai Swami

    ‘In other words, grieve’, you say. But I say “REJOICE” – Yes, learn to smile and rejoice! Always!

  • Jon Beaty

    Jeff, Your post got me to thinking. Every peak we summit seems to be followed by a valley of disappointment. This theme is even evident in many of the best known Bible stories. There were post-Christmas blues in Bethlehem. As I thought more about it, I had to write http://wp.me/p3Z4hR-3x.

  • Kimberly Budd

    Thanks for the suggestion. I wrote a complaint letter to Santa about a gift I received, and it really broke open the funk. And the advice to just write….that was what I really needed. All the best in 2014!

  • http://www.blogoftheworld.com/ Waqas Khan (Kashi)

    Hey Jeff,
    Can you believe I enjoy all the desperation after the holidays and I also celebrate it. It really helps me to motivate myself.

  • http://www.healingrescuedogs.com/ Kathy H Porter

    This year, my family made a grape vine wreath (which I blogged about http://bit.ly/1fVPCzZ that honored the family members we miss so much during the holiday season.

  • Deborah Shelby

    I never have post Christmas blues! I think it comes down to two reasons.
    First, Christmas is not over for my family after the kids open gifts on Christmas morning. We celebrate Christmas day as the first day of the Christmas season, which lasts until the Epiphany of our Lord. So the tree and decorations and all the lights stay up. We plan activities for several days so we have lots to look forward to! Even though I have to go back to work, we try to do fun things in the evening or weekend. Some years we drive to Bellingrath Gardens to tour the lights. We’ll schedule a movie matinee with the cousins on Saturday, invite one of my sisters and family to dinner, etc. Even gift returns or exchanges become part of the fun, and we’ll eat out after. I usually have little money, so it’ll likely be fast food, but that’s a treat for the kids. Having Christmas drawn out and gently fizzle to a close is much easier than having it slam shut on Christmas day!
    Second, my focus is not on gifts, so there’s no let down there either. I’m the mom, so I don’t receive gifts. I’m the giver. After the kids open presents, we have a nice breakfast, get dressed and go to church. Then it’s off to my parents’ house, only an hour away.
    When I say the focus is not on gifts, I’m not kidding. Christmas day at my parents’ consists of siblings, aunts, uncles, cousins, and sometimes in-laws as well. Lots of family, lots of FOOD, laughter and fun. The only gifts involved at my parents’ are in a dirty Santa game. It’s entertaining and hysterical fun!

  • http://www.writeplaceblog.com/ Joe Kovacs

    There is always such a stressful dash before Christmas–get presents, decorate, do this, do that; I separate that fast-faced madness from the simple joy and excitement of the day of Christmas itself. One wonders why the two have to be connected…who knows, maybe they don’t have to be. Thanks, Jeff, for this insightful post.

  • Sue Neal

    I often have Christmas blues – more before and during the festive season rather than after it, due to losses I’ve experienced and the way my life has changed. This is great advice – I keep a daily journal and often use it to write about my feelings when things get tough – it can be very therapeutic.

  • maxwell ivey

    Hi jeff; more positive than your last post. smile I don’t know why this year’s christmas was so bad for you. I have a loved one who lost a deer friend this year and has had to deal with the memories of him brought up by christmas and she seems much happier. I hope you will be able to get past your feelings through journalling blogging or some other creative outlet. as adults we can probably never recapture the wide eyed wonder of our childhood and expecting to could be part of the problem. My family had a good christmas. we are all healthy live in a modest home and get along on most days. i have fulfilling work even if it isn’t making me rich. My brother gets to watch his son grow up and help him with his school work. I have lots of friends online who help keep me motivated and positive and for whom i do the same. I applaud your idea about creating but i think you should have included get moving. I posted on twitter yesterday that maybe the holidays would be better for a lot of people if more of them started exercising before the holidays instead of promising to start after they are over. the new year is here. things will be better, but you have to decide they will be better and do your part to work for it. have a blessed 2014, max

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