I posted earlier this week that in our house, the holiday season isn’t officially over until Epiphany, or Three King’s Day, on January 6.
It’s how I was raised, and, to me, it’s just the way you do it. When I see people taking trees and decorations down the second Christmas is over, it always makes me sad, even though I know that everyone does holidays in a different way.
I usually get a little blue when January 7 rolls around and it’s time to pack things up. My mom always tells people that ever since I was a baby, I’ve had a horrible time taking Christmas down – she used to have to let me pick a decoration or ornament that I would keep on my shelf all year.
So I am known as the Christmas lady and friends and family make fun of my obsession with lights and their proper placement on trees and houses, and the fact that it looks like Santa and Jesus vomited all over my house during the Christmas season. One of my twin sons inherited my holiday gene and is equally as obsessed with decorating and Christmas movies and the best trees. It’s why he thought he had died and gone to Heaven when we surprised him and his brother with a trip to New York City the week after Thanksgiving. Truly, it was amazing to watch him soak up that holiday magic. He also gets sad about the end of the season. I know he will grow up following “the tree stays up until Epiphany” way of thinking, while his brother will likely lean towards the rip it all down the day after. Yin and Yang those two.
So, it was a completely foreign feeling when I woke up today WANTING to take all the decorations down. And then I asked my holiday loving son how he felt about it and HE said that he wanted the tree to stay up but wanted to start putting other stuff away (and the reality is that my son likely wants it all down so he can start decorating for Valentine’s Day because he saw it on display at the grocery store, but that’s neither here nor there).
What was happening to us? My husband made it known that he did NOT support this idea (I’m lucky I found a man who loves the holidays as much as I do), and so I let it go. Sort of.
But I wondered why this year, of all my years on Earth, was the year I was ready to de-holiday my house.
1. the manifestation of Christ to the Gentiles as represented by the Magi (Matthew 2:1–12).
• the festival commemorating the Epiphany on January 6.
• a manifestation of a divine or supernatural being
• a moment of sudden revelation or insight.
Now, I’ve always focused on the first part of the meaning – the culmination of the 12 Days of Christmas and the arrival of the Magi to the Christ Child. And that has always been important.
But THIS year, it seems Epiphany has taken on a bit of a different meaning. A moment of sudden revelation or insight.
A moment of sudden revelation or insight.
I’ve spent the better part of the last two years battling depression. At times I wondered if I would ever crawl out from under it. Parts of me kept getting shoved deeper and deeper, until I didn’t even recognize myself sometimes. My goals, my dreams, my passions, my interests all seemed to disappear. My writing seemed to be the one buried the deepest. Except for a sudden urge here or there, I wasn’t writing. At all. I wasn’t setting goals. I was stagnant. I don’t do well with stagnant. But there I was in this vicious cycle of trying to be “happy” and productive, but feeling like crap most of the time.
Mentally, I’m doing so much better – thanks to my family who knew I needed help and supported me, and to my psychiatrist and the wonder of modern medicine. Slowly the fog has lifted. The “me” I want to be is showing herself more and more. But over the last several months I’ve struggled with still feeling stuck, and then experiencing intense anxiety because of that feeling, and then being paralyzed by the anxiety. The vicious cycle of my anxiety/depression.
Until this past week. It’s as if I woke up on Christmas and the Ghosts of Christmas Past, Present and Future had all paid a visit and set me back on the path I want and need.
I wanted to write. I wanted to grow and share my business. I wanted to show my children the world. I wanted to have adventures with my husband. I wanted to get serious about living abroad – for a few years or forever. I wanted to manifest my dreams for myself and my family into reality.
A moment of sudden revelation or insight.
The thought of the New Year didn’t seem like a daunting chore destined for disappointment. It made me want to get started – RIGHT NOW – on making it a year to remember – for all the good and right and joyful reasons.
And with that came the sudden desire to pack up the decorations, have a clean, uncluttered slate in our home and get to work.
But because I’m also a girl heavily married to tradition, I compromised. I took down all the garland, lights and bows on our stair railings. It made my son and I feel good, and kept my husband happy.
But I’ll be honest, I’ve never looked more forward to January 7 and packing the holidays away until next year. And I look forward to seeing how our lives have changed between now and then. Because from the bottom of my soul and my whole heart, I know it’s going to be better than the last few years. Dare I say it’s even going to be wonderful.
Yes, I do dare. It’s going to be wonderful.