Monday, December 26, 2011

National Letdown Day

Okay, everybody, Happy Day After Christmas, otherwise known as National Letdown Day. I always remember December 26 as the day when the bloom began to rub off the rose. The toys that seemed so spectacularly special the day before began to look a little more shopworn on Letdown Day. The sweater that was going to be a Life-Changing Experience, turned out to be…a sweater. And, of course, if anybody so much as whistled “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer,” it was cause for justifiable homicide.

Christmas, after all, is all about anticipation. It’s probably the most anticipated holiday of the year (and these days that anticipation can start as early as October). But sooner or later, anticipation becomes accomplishment. And then you’re left with “Now what?”

I know some people use December 26 as a day to return the Christmas presents that didn’t work out. In fact I have a relative-who-shall-be-nameless who does just that every year, stopping in at the stores where her presents were purchased to exchange them for something more appropriate before she sets off over the river and through the woods back to her hometown. That’s certainly one way of dealing with post-Christmas letdown—obliterate all memories of Christmas presents. Although frankly I think it’s better to wait a bit. Maybe those presents will seem more promising if you wait until National Letdown Day is over.

So what can we do to make Letdown Day a little less of a bummer? I think treating yourself to something special is a good start. After all, Christmas is all about treats too, and those treats don’t need to stop on December 26. Going somewhere other than the mall strikes me as a start. Since I’m usually in Iowa for Christmas, I frequently end up visiting places I’ve never been before. One year it was the Des Moines Art Center, which had been touted as a hidden jewel (it was, in fact, very cool). And we’ve done arboretums and historic buildings too. What you mainly don’t want to do is sit around and contemplate your Christmas presents and that pile of torn-up wrapping paper in the corner. I recommend going out to dinner too, so that you aren’t faced with the prospect of yet more reminders of meals past.

The thing is post-Christmas letdown begins to ease the further away from Christmas you get. So December 27 is better than December 26. And December 28 is better still. And, of course, there’s always New Year’s Eve glimmering on the horizon.

So what about you? Any hints for getting through National Letdown Day? Or (gasp) am I the only one who thinks of it that way?


Katie O'Connor said...

In Canada, we call it boxing day. Traditionally folks boxed up leftovers and distributed them to the less fortunate. That has gone by the wayside. Today sales and shopping rule. (For others, I would not be caught dead shopping today. ICK!)

For me, Boxing Day is a day of rest. Christmas day is hectic and so much fun, that I need a day to recover. I spend it reading the lovely books I got for Christmas, or playing games with the family. It is a peaceful relaxing day. Not as thrilling as the big day, but to me still special.

CAB said...

Margaret, I actually feel this more going into the day than after. But I understand the feeling. Thanks for sharing. Me, I'm sick with a sinus infection, so I'm glad it's the day after Christmas instead of Christmas day! Happy new year!

Meg Benjamin said...

Oh CAB, you have my sympathy. And maybe if we called Letdown Day Boxing Day it would make it seem a little more interesting!