Dealing With the Post-Holiday Blues

My wife says she dreads this day.  It’s the day that we put away the Christmas decorations.  Each year is the same routine:

I drag the tree out like a dead body to the Christmas tree recycling bin, leaving a trail of bark and needles.  There’s a tiny part of me that feels guilty, almost like I’m betraying a friend that has brought us happiness for the past several weeks.  The worst year was when we missed the bin pick-up date and a friend of ours had to come over with his chain saw to dismember the poor tree.

I pack away the nativity scene.  Jesus, Mary, Joseph, the three wise men, and the donkey look at me with sadness as I carefully wrap them in plastic and shove them into their little styrofoam molds.

Finally, the smiling Frosty-looking snowman that greets us every morning at the kitchen table is wrapped in paper and placed into a box, not to be seen again for another 12 months.


I definitely get the post-holiday blues.  When I return to work mid-week, it’s as if everything is moving in slow motion.  I feel like I’m out of shape both physically and mentally.  The joy of Christmas/New Year parties, spending time with friends and family, seeing smiling children open gifts, drinking wine, eating great food, and the overall vibe of the holiday season – to see it all go away depresses me.

If you can get up and running right away without any post-holiday hangover, you’re lucky.  For those who struggle like I do, here are a few things that have helped me:

Get after goals immediately: Pick one thing and start on it.  Did you join a gym, get the conversational Spanish audio program, or start work on that novel you were going to write?  Get your mind off 2012 and get busy on a successful 2013.

Clean and de-clutter: If you have leftover house clutter from the holiday (like gift wrap, wine glasses and unopened white elephant gifts), start cleaning.  A cluttered and messy house only adds to stress.  Clear out and clean to give yourself a fresh start in the new year.

Help others: There’s a lot of volunteering and giving during the holidays.  There’s no reason why this shouldn’t occur or keep going the entire year.  Aside from lifting others up, there are benefits to you (like a stronger immune system and heightened sense of well-being).

Laugh: I try to find things that will make me laugh.  This can come from several different places: dinner out with friends, watching a funny movie or TV show, watching a video, or reading a book.  At work, I try to hang out with co-workers who make me laugh as well.  Laughing is the perfect antidote to the blues.

Perspective: I say the same thing each and every year when Halloween rolls around.  “Wow, the year is going by so fast.  Pretty soon it’ll be Christmas.”  By putting things in perspective, God-willing, we’ll be around for another holiday celebration at the end of 2013.  The same joy and happiness will come back again with new holiday memories…followed by another goodbye to the Christmas tree, the nativity scene, and the happy snowman.

How do you deal with the post-holiday blues?