There’s still tape stuck to the coffee table, still remnants of wrapping paper under the couch. There’s leftover food in the fridge: ham, pierogis my mom made, and crumbs from the minature cakes my sister-in-law brought when we had Christmas Eve. There are battery packages torn open and strewn across Nathan’s desk that go inside the types of things 11-year-old boys get for Christmas (they all involve lots of noise). There’s lots of trash in bright, boyish colors. The poinsettia is still next to my front door but is drooping a bit, and the roses from the centerpiece in the dining room are beginning to wilt. I have return addresses torn from envelope corners and littering my desk — all meant to be carefully printed in my address book for people who’ve moved or whose addresses I didn’t have.
The season is definitely winding down. There are only little hints, in fact, that it happened at all.
But there’s always that need to make it last a little longer, isn’t there? For me, it’s a constant lingering warmth in my chest that family is everything. I feel it most at Christmas — all the songs, all the gatherings, all the dinners, all the cards — they all remind me, in one way or another, that there are so many wonderful people in my life that I’m so grateful for.
So even though the day has passed on the calendar, I still play my Christmas songs in my car (“I’ll Be Home for Christmas” will make me cry all week). The tree is still up — shining with its ornaments for each family member and every vacation we’ve ever taken together — and we’ll keep it up until New Year’s Day. The kids are still home from school, and have that lazy, lingering way about them — they actually lie on the couch with us at night (instead of rushing off to do homework or go out with friends) and don’t seem to mind accompanying us to hang out for hours with grandparents and aunts and cousins.
The day may have passed, but the spirit remains. I hope it lasts well into the new year. …
How do you end the Christmas season? Do you find ways to make it last a little longer?