The day after Christmas comedown

The day after Christmas is always such a bummer. Even as an adult, even though Christmas itself isn’t the same magical day of pure ecstasy that it was when I was a little kid, the day after is still this soul-crushing comedown, the same melancholy withdrawal that it’s been since as far back as I can remember. Christmas is great, or maybe it’s not always great, but it’s still Christmas. And the day after is just another day, back to business.

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I just feel like, even though it’s no longer that rapturous thrill of opening up an endless sea of presents, Christmas is still a nice holiday. Especially if you put some work into it, plan out in advance what gifts you’re going to get for which friend or family member, as long as nobody goes overboard with anything, the whole Christmas season actually can be something like that cheery merry ho ho ho that they try to make you feel when you’re watching Christmas commercials on TV.

And this year, I don’t know, maybe the stars were aligned or something, but I thought it was an especially successful Christmas. I committed myself to actually spending an entire day putting thought into my presents, taking advantage of all of the Cyber Monday deals online. There weren’t any of those last minute trips to any stores, those awful annual meltdowns where I find myself crushed up against a wall of like-minded procrastinators, mindlessly shuffling from aisle to aisle, asking myself questions like, “Should I really buy my wife a blender for Christmas? Or a blanket? Blender?” before ultimately grabbing and paying for something, anything to get me the hell outside, away from the crowds.

No, this year was easy. And for me, Christmas was prefaced by five days off from work. I scheduled my shifts at the restaurant accordingly, with plenty of family get-togethers to fill in all of my free days. Where a lot of the time the holidays can become a challenge to fit in seeing everyone from both my wife’s and my sides of the family, this year gave us ample time to hang out with our siblings, visit aunts, uncles and cousins, to really be present in a way that’s not possible when you’re spending a limited amount of time figuring out how you’re going to get from point A to B to C.

On Christmas Day we had breakfast with my in-laws before heading to my parents for lunch. Afterward we headed to my grandfather’s before packing everything up and coming home. And now here I am, I’m sitting here by myself for the first time in five days, what’s usually a comfortable quiet spot is now sort of unbearable. I want to be back at home already, surrounded by a million people, everyone talking over each other trying to muscle in a funnier joke, or a louder one at least.

Now that I’m by myself, I’m forced to think about how another year has passed, to wonder what Christmas is going to be like five years from now, or twenty, or fifty. Is it always going to be this tough, abruptly shifting from holiday back into reality? Why can’t we figure something out as a society to make the transition a little easier? Do I really have to go back to work today?

It’s crazy to think like this, I know it. You can’t be looking backwards. And yeah, once I get back into my routine, things will level out. My days are going to get busy again and I’ll start looking forward to the time I get to spend here at my desk, quiet, writing at my computer.

But right now I’m stuffed because I’ve been eating for like five days straight. My tongue hurts because there were all of these bowls of candy and desserts out at my grandfather’s and I couldn’t stop myself from shoving everything into my mouth. And I’m practically delirious with exhaustion. I haven’t slept a solid night since I’ve been away from my bed. I’m going through some serious Christmas withdrawal, and I want it to be over already. Why does it always have to end? Why can’t we just let the good times keep rolling?

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