It happens every year: Thanksgiving comes and goes and on Black Friday we’re (hopefully) at home thinking to ourselves “No. No, no, no…I’m NOT getting caught in holiday madness this year. I’ll just buy a few, good gift cards for the people closest to me. Maybe I’ll get a small tree to put on an end table.” You plan this cleverly thought out simple holiday because you remember how worn out you were the year before and all the years before it. But even with your well-thought out plan the mayhem starts creeping in again – you go to buy that really small tree and see how scrawny it looks next to the bigger, fuller ones, and they’re not that much more expensive, so you buy a bigger one. Now you have a medium-sized tree and if you do minimalist decoration like you wanted to with just one or two kinds of decoration, it won’t look good at all. So you have to fill it up. Monday morning someone at the office mentions that she has to start her Christmas shopping which reminds you that you have to buy gifts for your co-workers. Crap! And thus, the holiday snowballing begins and before you know it you’re putting lights on the outside of your house, making the eggnog at the company party, and buying stocking stuffers for your neighbors’ cats and dogs. Again. Just like the year before and the year before that.
It may be due to the cozy feel of togetherness people either feel or want to feel during the holidays, or it may be because everyone’s frantic during this time and you want to be frantic too because human beings are social animals and want to do what everyone else is doing, or you’re doing it for your loved ones’ sake, but the holidays always tend to get hectic despite our intentions of keeping them simple.
The result of this is a massive, collective hungover felt by all during the month of January – the first, bright, new month of the new year. The exhaustion and recovery going on after December are not at all conducive to our New Year’s resolutions, or to the newness of the new year.
We should treat the end of the year the way we ideally would treat the end of our day, by winding down, slowing down the things around us, turning off the lights, and slipping into bed. How this would translate into our end-of-year activities is very similar: start quieting down your life. After Thanksgiving, take that post-meal lethargic laziness and color the rest of the year with it. Make good on your promise to yourself to only buy gift cards as presents, keep the tree small and simple, and don’t put lights up. Instead of elaborately decorating your home, enjoy the decorations on other homes in a leisurely drive around town with hot cocoa. Save as much money as you can. Have a mellow gathering at home with only your closest friends. Rest, rest, rest. Recharge your batteries. Refuel for the next year.
When we frantically rush and run around the last two months of the year, racing against the clock and each other, fully immersed in the madness, we end up finding ourselves at the New Year as though we ended up there by accident, like getting beached after a storm. We find ourselves at the beginning of a promising new year depleted in all ways: emotionally, physically, financially. This leaves us malnourished and ill-prepared for the new start we’ve been gifted.
Forgo the November-December frenzy and recharge and refuel instead. You’ll arrive at the new year ready to engage and accomplish and that sets the tone for a successful year.