In an ideal world, the day after Christmas would consist of lazing around the house with family, watching movies, and enjoying some carefree relaxation. Hopefully, many of you are getting a day like that today, or doing something you enjoy. A good number of you are probably back to work and we hope you had a wonderful Christmas celebration!
The days following Christmas can feel empty and depressing unless we plan otherwise. Some choose to keep their tree up until New Year’s Day because they are not ready to let go (I understand!). Some fill the week after Christmas with fun and family time and I am all for that! I prefer the week between Christmas and New Years to be one long celebration – seeing friends, shopping with Mom, and maybe driving to the beach.
As a part of this week-long celebration, we can love on the people in our lives – even those to whom we are not particularly close. The happiest people in the world are often those who live to make other people happy. When we hold on to our resources tightly – our time and money – we become more self-centered over time; but, when we choose generosity and choose to ask the question, “How can I improve someone else’s life?” we become lighter and more fulfilled.
In the spirit of keeping Christmas alive, can you add any of these to your post-Christmas celebration?
- Invite someone(s) over for a Post-Christmas dinner. You can have a formal dinner and invite folks you want to know better – or you can have an informal meal using your Christmas leftovers. Either way, you can be hospitable and offer some post-Christmas fun and relaxation.
- Children can offer to donate one of their gifts to another child or they can take their personal money and purchase a gift. Christmas Day may have passed, but a child is always ready to receive a toy!
- Visit shut-ins and bring them gift baskets. Unless something significantly changes our situation, holidays tend to exacerbate what we are already feeling. If we are depressed, holidays can bring us more depression. If we are happy, Christmas fills us with even more happiness. Those who are lonely throughout the year feel extra lonely during the holidays unless someone shows them attention. You can visit homebound church members or go to nursing homes and ask for the room numbers of residents who do not get many visitors.
- Take goodies or Thank You cards to local law enforcement agencies, hospitals, and fire stations. Cops, nurses, and firefighters do not always get to spend Christmas with their families. My friend is a nurse and she often volunteers to work Christmas Day so someone else can enjoy time with his or her family. We enjoy many blessings because these folks are on the job. They would surely appreciate a note or gift of appreciation!
- Stock someone’s closet with Christmas decorations, wrapping paper, bows, tags, and ornaments! After Christmas is the best time to save on Christmas accessories for future years. Thank the gift-givers in your life by helping them restock their gift-wrapping accouterments.
- Repurpose your Christmas cash. If you came in under your Christmas budget, or you received money as a gift, consider buying restaurant gift cards for some exhausted parents, donating to a worthy organization, or doling out random blessings. “Monday, I will invite Ann to lunch and pay! Tuesday, I will bring the office Starbucks! Wednesday, I will….”
- Donate some of your gently used items. To keep clutter from taking over our lives, it is a good practice to get rid of an item every time we bring a new item into the house. After Christmas, we have plenty of new goodies. To make room for them, choose some goods that are still in excellent shape and put them aside to give away. If you have seen a friend admiring something you no longer need, pass it on to him or her. If you have a newer appliance, gift the older one to someone who needs it. Gently used clothes and homemaking items can be incredibly useful in a mission or group home.
Whether you host a dinner or thoroughly de-clutter, use some of your energy and resources this week to love on someone. Our worlds are small when we only look out for ourselves; but, when we invite others into our space, our territory expands exponentially.
How will you keep Christmas going this week?