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Friday, December 30, 2011

The Day After Christmas

The calendar shows today as just two days away from a New Year. Somehow, I missed the traditions my family usually observed right after Christmas. Already, I find myself poised for the start of another year. With a flexibility granted by age and warranted by desire, I decided to appoint today my very own Day After Christmas. The 26th didn’t do it for me this year; it did not offer the pleasures and rewards I associate with the Day After Christmas, so with a wink, and a nod here it goes.
In my childhood, the Day After Christmas was a day of responsible dereliction. First, of course, thank you notes had to be written. It was a rule of thumb that we could not use a gift until we wrote our thank you notes. This ensured an adherence to etiquette that might otherwise have been overlooked. I raced to that duty with enthusiasm and verve. With the notes written, addressed and stamped, we were free to start to settle in to enjoy our presents. Yes, there was some light housework to be done; tasks such as vacuuming the bits of paper wrap and tinsel from yesterday’s gift-giving frenzy, shoveling the ashes out of the fireplace, putting away our best china and tidying up our haul. All tasks that were of legitimate concern today. I moved through these duties to the best of my ability and added a mountain of laundry that seemed to have taken on the ability to perform noncellular reproduction. The post Christmas laundry chore is always a delicate affair. New shirts may shrink, socks may bleed and lone pieces of chocolate secreted in a pocket are prone to melt in the dryer. I discovered which of the season’s gifts would shrink, bleed and melt today. In my childhood home, we ate leftovers, for all three meals. Free-range eating my mother called it. That was right up my alley today. Clementines, chocolate almonds and lasagna do a balanced breakfast make. As a teenager, I would lose myself in my new books, spend an hour playing a game with my sister and often start a craft project. Today, I lost myself in my Kindle. I thought it would be more intuitive than it has been, but I am catching on. I spent a long time comparing the qualities of waterproof cases for my Kindle (not splashproof -- I am talking take a ten-minute soak in the hot-tub proof). I have narrowed it down to three. I started reading two new books, one for fun, the other for edification. I have managed to knosh regularly on whatever cookies, snacks and remainders fit easily in hand to mouth.
I have luxuriated in a quiet that is unfamiliar on most Days After Christmas. This is because my husband and I put our three off-spring on a plane to Florida at 6:30am. He went off to his office and I, in a sense, to mine. The children were heading for sun and fun -- in their wake was a wide swath of silence.
As for my Day After Christmas, I have enjoyed myself. Still, I have felt the proverbial turn of the gears of time propelling me forward toward a new year. No tricks or proclamations can stem that motion. All I can do is get on board and surf on in to 2012...keeping a tight grasp on my Kindle.

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