The Art of Love & Money - Christmas The Aftermath
The Art of Love & Money – Christmas The Aftermath

So, You made it through another Christmas!

And you hauled all of the stuff home.  Yeah.  You got some stuff!

The holidays are fantastic for spending time with family, friends, and for getting dressed up, for gathering and playing games, for sitting by the Christmas tree lights in the wee hours of the night, watching Netflix with a glass of red.

I particularly enjoy turning the lights on for my morning coffee.

Oh!  And how about that sleeping in part?  I mean if you are lucky enough to have some time off where the whole family doesn’t have to be up and out the door by 8 am.

That’s bliss right there.

So enjoy that!

If you are anything like me, the first day after Christmas is easily absorbed by the perfect nothingness of the day after, but then the stuff and the decor begins to gnaw on your nerves by the 27th.  Resist the urge to pack it all up.

Instead, ease back into it.

The ONE Thing

The first thing I do is find a home for all of the gifts that got stuffed in the trunk, or shoved in the basement dumping grounds as we unload the car coming home late Christmas evening.

That’s it.  The ONE THING for the 27th is just to put all the gifts in their place.

If you have returns, you can put them back in their shopping bags with the receipts.

If they are clothes, wash them – or just hang them in your closet.

Toys can be UN-packaged, assembled, and loaded with batteries as the kids make their way through the toy pile.

The gift boxes and bags can be salvaged, folded and sorted into a pile for next year.  I keep a couple of totes in the basement for gift wrap.  One is for Christmas wrap and one is for Birthdays and all other occasions.  Stash them in there.

I know the urge to PITCH IT ALL!

But I am always glad when I don’t have to spend $4.95 to put the thing that I bought in something that I can wrap paper around, that also costs, $4.95 so that I can give the actual gift.

Look at you!  Already saving $10 for Christmas next year! 😉

Eat some left overs, and call it a day.

Making Way

A couple of days into the restful Christmas break before the writing and planning and goal setting for the New Year, I’ll have a clean out day.  I clean out the closets and drawers and have the kids do the same in their rooms with their clothes and toys.  Honestly, for the kids, it’s BEST to have them do this before Christmas, as they write their wish list to Santa.  I have seen some very creative ways to entice children into giving and donating their old toys in anticipation for the new.

It makes putting their new toys away so much easier!

I try not to stress over this, and I just do an hour or so at a time.  Put on some good music, or a podcast and turn your thoughts ahead to what you want to accomplish in the New Year.  Organizing makes for great alone time in your own head!

As you make your way through the house, bring the bags out to the trunk and at the end of the week make a haul to your local Goodwill, Salvation Army, World Relief, or Veteran’s drop-off center.

This is another way you can bless not just your own home and mindset, by clearing out the clutter – but you can bless other’s as well.  One man’s trash really IS another man’s treasure.

Disassembling the Tree

I save the taking the tree down until I need to go back to work.  Usually around the 6th of January.  I don’t know, I just like it to be up all through New Year’s and into Boxing Day, which I don’t actually celebrate, but it just feels festive to me to have the tree and the lights up through early January.

Gather everyone in the house, crank up the music, and create an assembly line putting all of the stuff away that you got out a few weeks ago, in reverse order.  Throw it all back in the Christmas tote.

If you are especially brave, you can purge old decor that you’re not that into anymore.  Or reorganize the tote for easier placement next year.

To be honest, I have been stuffing decorations back into those totes for the last 20 years.  I kind of like keeping all the older decor so i can mix it up – I’ve gone from a flocked artificial tree with blue and silver ornaments, to a more traditional multicolored tree, to rusts, golds, reds and creams to match the living room decor (yikes), and now it’s black fishnet ribbons and red boudoir feathers and sparkly silver spikes.

The Rest of It

I usually leave the wreaths and the window boxes in place throughout the rest of the winter.  In Illinois, January, February, and March can be pretty darn bleak, and I don’t mind a little greenery one bit.

As the weather warms, I’ll spend a day putzing around in the yard pulling out the decorations, repacking  the totes, and tossing out the evergreens as I cut back the plants.

Basically, I leave the evergreens in place as long as they still look good and aren’t making a mess.

So, that’s how to survive the aftermath of Christmas.  Take it slow and allow yourself some restful recovery as you enter the New Year.

Wishing you a rich and fulfilling life in 2018!

Rachelle

Rachelle Magadan

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