Beating the After-Christmas Blues | Jase Graves

  • Tuesday, January 7, 2020 8:30am
  • Opinion

Dear Reader,

Now that the beautifully wrapped gifts have been ravaged, the luscious desserts have been inhaled, and Santa has packed his peppermint-striped Speedo for a vacation to Jamaica’s Hedonism resort, many holiday revelers find themselves experiencing the after-Christmas blues.

Following all of the frantic seasonal preparations, including at least fifteen trips to Walmart for more almond bark, the abrupt conclusion of the festivities can come as quite a shock­ — and not just to the digestive system.

I often suffer acutely from this type of post-holiday funk myself. To me, the days and weeks following Christmas can be a real Old Yeller death scene. With nothing to look forward to other than filing articles of impeachment against my triglycerides, a personal reboot is always in order. By following a few simple steps, I’ve learned how to overcome the despair brought on by the prospect of having to go back to work and put on pants before noon.

First, unless you’re one of those cringey neighbors who leaves unsupervised strings of Christmas lights loitering around your gutters until Memorial Day, I suggest packing away your decorations as soon as possible. Even so much as a half-eaten limited-edition snowman Marshmallow Peep found under the couch cushions in late January can trigger a post-holiday depression meltdown, so a thorough decor detox is an absolute necessity.

To make the process more tolerable, I recommend getting the whole family involved. This year, I’ve enlisted my three teen daughters by withholding all Starbucks privileges until the last tuft of artificial snow is safely in the attic.

Once your delightfully tacky Yuletide accessories are in storage, why not tackle a few home-improvement projects? With the remnants of my Christmas vacation on life-support, I recently decided it was time to deal with the biohazards partying on our bathroom sink drain stoppers. But I was hardly prepared for the trauma about to be visited upon my gag reflexes­. And I won’t even attempt to describe the interdimensional ectoplasm that wound up lodged under my fingernails­ when I yanked them out. (I’m now seriously considering installing an outhouse.)

Another effective strategy in smiting the after-Christmas blues involves returning all of your unwanted gifts and using the refunds for things you really need — like luxury underwear and Mexican food. I don’t know about you, but the older I get, the more I value a sleek and bracing pair of boxer briefs with a forgiving waistband, no matter the cost. Adorned with the latest in decadent unmentionables, I can proceed in full confidence to the nearest Tex-Mex joint and order an endless conveyor belt of chips, salsa and queso dip to cleanse my palate of all that rich holiday fare. There really is something to be said for getting back to the basics of clean eating.

Whatever method you choose to avoid wallowing in the dismal aftermath of the holidays, it’s important to move on and consider the bright future before you. After all, a new year is dawning, promising more bitter politics, juicy celebrity scandals, and new episodes of “The Bachelor.”

And if none of that sounds appealing, you can always just leave your Christmas lights up and head back to Walmart for more almond bark.

Graves is an award-winning humor columnist from East Texas. His columns have been featured in Texas Escapes magazine, The Shreveport Times, The Longview News Journal, and The Kilgore News Herald. Contact Graves at susanjase@sbcglobal.net.

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