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?

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4 thoughts on “Leftovers

  1. I like to start looking forward to the coming year. I always get excited at what the new year might bring. Sometimes it’s not good but I guess it’s the not knowing that is exciting; but sometimes its great and that’s even more exciting!
    Plus it just means that we can start looking forward to the coming holidays!

  2. Enjoy the company of the kids for as long as you can. Now that our kids are older they are busy with work on the holidays and it is just a miracle that we were still all able to go to Midnight Mass together. I continue to give thanks that all my loved ones have survived another year, that we are still working and able to have a warm place to gather. I don’t want to give up this year until the very last minute because next year is an unknown. So, the tree stays up, the Christmas lights still go on and we still wear our family Christmas pj’s.
    Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year to you and your wonderful family.

  3. Hi, Debbie! Family Christmas pj’s? I’d love to see those! (What a fun idea!) Thanks for the wonderful wishes — same to you and yours!

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