As children return to school and grown-ups get back to work, many are feeling the post-holiday blues. Suddenly, green and red seem out of season. The magic has faded and warm, fuzzy moments yield to the plain, cold winter.
What is left of the yuletide season?
When you think of holiday leftovers, what comes to mind?
Turkey sandwiches, fruitcake, hangovers, extra pounds and inches, credit card debt or overfilled garbage cans?
There are presents that will bring value into the New Year: mittens and sweaters to keep you warm, a new bike for a child, and books that will capture your imagination.
What else can we bring forward from the holidays?
Is there any leftover magic that can enrich post-holiday life?
1. Renewed Relationships For many families, the holidays are like a salmon run. Kids away for school and grownups who have moved from their hometowns migrate back to their families of origin. It’s a time to catch up and spend time together, and wonder why we don’t do this more often.
We’re back together with those who matter most.
It’s a time to reconnect with old friends, but often there isn’t enough time to physically get together. We have to settle for cards and e-mail updates.
Note for the New Year’s calendar: make time for your friends. Don’t settle for facebook. Have real face time with friends.
2. Expressing Love and Appreciation We all take for granted the people in our lives. The holidays give us an opportunity to express some of our deepest feelings. It never hurts to tell our best friends and family how much they mean to us and how we love them even if they may have heard it before.
We all need that positive reinforcement. We all like to feel appreciated.
Each year, I am moved by my special patients who take the time to write a card or wrap a present. They are exceptional in their graciousness.
That graciousness can be a positive contagion. Kind and thoughtful acts throughout the year can warm cold days and bring happiness to others. They can inspire others to be gracious as well, inciting a cascade of kindness.
Let us resolve to be more appreciative of the people in our lives and never miss an opportunity to express love.
3. Good Will Towards Others Forgetting for the moment holiday traffic jams, rude customers and overwhelmed retail workers, remember the general good will of the season. We greet others – even total strangers in the elevator – with smiles and wishes for a wonderful time with loved ones.
We remember that we all have families and friends whom we love and love to be with, and we wish for others what we want ourselves.
Good will is another positive contagion. Let’s pass it on more indiscriminately each day of the year, with good mornings, afternoons, evenings and weekends.
4. Generosity The holiday season inspires us to think of others. We donate more freely to charity and we think of those in need, but of course, the food bank and those reliant on the generosity of others have needs every day of the year.
Let us remember those needs in every season.
As we put away the holiday decorations for another year, consider bringing into the New Year, the best of the season all year round: renewing our relationships, expressing love and appreciation, spreading good will and giving what is most needed.