You’ve experienced it. It’s not a “hangover” in the sense of overdoing it with the liquid version of Christmas cheer. I’m talking about the absolute tiredness that follows Christmas festivities, which turns to numbness by New Year’s Eve. This goes beyond the irritation of having heard “Grandma Got Run Over by a Reindeer” twenty times by December 1st. This is the feeling of lead limbs after all the wrapping is unwrapped, and all the cookies are wolfed down by the hoards.
Yeah, that feeling.
I can certainly understand any amount of holiday fatigue. But that isn’t the only symptom of post-holiday stress syndrome.
One accompanying symptom is substance addiction. My oldest son, on December 26th, was walking around muttering to himself. I was lounging on the couch, and my other children were playing on electronic devices. One was waiting for my oldest. They were going to play a game on the Wii. Don’t ask me which one. My brain was still in “numbness” mode, and nothing was registering until my oldest (who is 21) was going from room to room, saying over and over to himself: “Where did I leave it?”
I finally worked up the energy to ask the obvious. “What are you looking for?”
Understand that my inquiry was not out of any fuzzy maternal concern. It was made because watching him go from room to room searching was wearing me out. Have you any idea how hard it is to concentrate on doing nothing while lying on the couch with a book you are “reading” while someone keeps swooshing back and forth in your line of view?
“My bag,” my son replied.
“What bag?” I asked. Again, do not be deceived, there was no natural concern or even curiosity involved. It was merely an effort to bring all that swooshing to an end. It was exhausting to watch.
“My bag, it’s a gray, plastic bag.”
“Like a Walmart bag?” I guessed.
“Yes. It has my candy in it.”
Ah, I saw the issue then. My tall sugar addict was looking for the stash he got for a present from his siblings. He did eventually find it, and the swooshing stopped, and I was able to read (a.k.a. take a nap) on the couch.
I heard him open something, and say, “Hmmm…. ‘Santa’s mystery flavor’. Interesting.” It was a lollipop. Santa’s Mystery Flavor? What in the world would that be? Reindeer poop? Stinky Elf Feet? Yeti Pee? I shook my head wondering whatever happened to good old-fashioned peppermint candy canes. Like the ones the kids begged to hang on the tree.
Speaking of trees, ours was also showing signs of a holiday hangover. It had been shedding needles like crazy for almost two weeks despite being diligent about keeping the base filled with water. My husband said they probably cut it too soon. Whatever the reason, on the 26th I decided the tree was leaving the house. Usually, we don’t take ours down until New Year’s Day, but this year, for the first time I can ever remember, it was out the door on the 26th. The pile of needles left on the floor was impressive. I think I could have used a shovel to clean it all up. As it was, I had to empty the vacuum cleaner twice before the job was done in the living room, never mind the trail of needles showing the path of exit through the house.
As far as the rest of the house goes, it looks like the Present Fairy threw up all over the place. New Legos, games, remote control cars, electronic accessories, and miscellaneous Christmas debris adorns the floor in every room. I can always tell which gifts had been received less enthusiastically. They are placed in odd places around the house (the living room bay window, fallen behind the bookcase, under a desk, etc.) still in their packaging. Oh well, you can’t always hit the nail on the head, right?
Besides, I’m too tired to care. We’ll clean up eventually, but for now, I will let the kids sugar themselves up and play on the electronics too much. I will be curled up, reading (napping) and trying to overcome the holiday hangover.
God bless us, everyone.