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Beating The Post Yule Blues
As I write this article two things are happening. One, many folks are going back to work. I don't just mean postal workers, EMTs and the like. I mean the poor souls who will face the post holiday crush. You thought the malls were bad before Christmas? Try being there the day after. From those rushing to spend gift cards while they and the kids still have the day off to those returning gifts for whatever reason it's a nightmare. I raise my coffee mug in salute to those folks bravely serving in the front lines.
But do you know something? Having been on both sides of the counter? It's actually kind of fun. There may still be holiday tunes on the radio and many bosses are pretty darn good about keeping the atmosphere behind the scenes relaxed. One boss I has even made us cookies! But what about everyone else?
Those not heading for the mall or work, but it's December the 26th and you are just so darn sad? I don't mean Seasonal Affective Disorder SAD, that's a whole other kettle of fish. But you're a little heartbroken, a little lost a little hollow inside. Yule has come and gone unless you are doing all twelve days and the artifical cheer of a secular holiday is now gone too. Well, I'm here to help. We can all get these holiday blips and there is actually a lot we can do about it. And the best thing is, most of these solutions are free or nearly so.
Yule Logs May Be Gone, But The Memories Remain
First Things First, This Is Normal
I remember as a little girl feeling sad after Christmas and not being able to articulate why. And when I finally managed 'more' as a way to explain the complex swirl of sadness, loss, and feeling the magic would never return to life again, some adults scolded me, but mom knew what I meant. I didn't want more gifts, or more Santa (unless he could visit for a little bit, no more gifts) or even more music. But the tree up a little longer would be nice. That nice relaxed feeling of a home during the holidays, sans demanding, grabby guests, obviously. And that is normal.
We Americans sped a long time preparing for the holidays. Some of us shop all year for just the right thing, some start at Thanksgiving. Add in planning for a ritual or magical doings and it's no wonder we are so keyed up. But we all go a little holiday crazy no matter what we celebrate. By the time the day has arrived we've spent countless hours imagining how wonderful it will be. And it comes and it is wonderful, from all that stored up energy and it's release in a frenzy of cooking, cleaning and gift giving and getting, not to mention rites and witchy doings, but then after weeks or months of excitement it is gone.
There are no more holiday shows or music on the radio, shop windows change to celebrate the secular new year and new sales and it's all a big let down after all the time we spent in anticipation. That is totally normal and we have to expect it. There's nothing greedy in wanting those good feelings the holidays bring to last all year. It is something we are supposed to strive for, the feelings that we are a big human family and there should be peace on Earth? They are worth keeping after the gifts are forgotten and the ornaments stored away.
Beat The Post Holiday Blues
Let The Holidays Last A Little Longer
I don't mean you keep giving gifts and feasting forever. What my family did was to extend the holiday to the day after and sometimes a little longer. We finally had our home back to ourselves. We could now enjoy our gifts without fear of family criticism (every family has members that feel free to lay guilt trips on top of every present anyone else gets) any gift exchanges were over and done with (every family has one of those, too) and we could just enjoy ourselves, feasting on leftovers and doing whatever we felt like.
The tree stayed up as did some of the decorations. At first until we went back to school, and then as we got older and could pitch in things stayed up until New Years and one year after dad was gone, Russian Christmas. Now as witches and pagans that time frame may not fit, but may I humbly suggest all twelve days of Yule? Or you could go all the way up to Twelfth Night in January, a holidays with decidedly pagan roots showing.
Explain to your Gods that while you appreciate the wheel has to keep turning, you would just like to savor Yule a little longer and I'm sure they'll understand.
Our Gods Still Love Us
Have a Low Key Undercorating Party
Play carols, leave out food to nibble on and make a party as you take down all the things you put up in grand excitement. Making it a fun even to look forward to helps extend the holidays and fills the gap between now and your next event.
There will be time for planning your next ritual later. For now, exchange stories about the holiday you just had, and ones of holidays past. Maybe you burnt your first Yule log this year, or got your first pentacle. Maybe you attended a bonfire or caught up with witchy friends on the 'net. Whatever happened sharing those experiences will help you remember them and spread the joy.
Rev. Don's Vlog - Humor
Make Returns Fun
What the huh? You might ask, trust me, there is a way to do this. Take the person wanting the return with you. We had one difficult family member who always wanted her gifts returned and wanted something else instead. Well, one year we made her go with us instead of just carrying out her whims. And she enjoyed herself until she saw how pretty the item she was returning was on mom and other shoppers.
The next year, we took her shopping instead, and again, she got to see what she could have gotten but would have returned. After that? No complaints. I'm not saying you keep broken items or ones that don't fit or cause an allergic reaction, but I am saying if you have to return it, make it fun. We didn't do the tough love thing to be spiteful. We just knew the family member in question was always sure she wasn't getting the best presents when in truth hers were often the most costly ones.
So plan extra time. Try to plan a day when you have time to find a parking space and wait in line. If you can't afford a meal out take treats from home along, though obviously don't eat them in the store. A car picnic or nibble in the mall courtyard can be very restorative. And remember to be polite and gracious to those handling the return. They aren't to blame for the wrong size or the store not having a toy or gift set in stock after the holidays for an exchange.
Have a little empathy, that sales clerk is being asked to play Horned God, Goddess and Father Christmas all at once. And when is the last time Goddess manifested a exchange? That's what I thought.
Get In Touch With Humorous Gods
Spend Time With Your God/dess
I think it hits Them too. Sure They are perfect. But they just watched us run around in total glee for weeks or months, then bump our head on reality. And talk your true feelings out, don't lie. It is totally OK to say, I didn't get what I really wanted. Because you know Goddess will laugh and may even give it to you in spades.
It's also OK to complain about having spent too much or too little, the family, friends, or total strangers who seemed intent on ruining Yule and all and sundry that you wouldn't even tell your Facebook friends about. Get it all out and let it go. Often just saying something out loud helps us put it in perspective. OK, we didn't buy everything we wanted, perhaps. But we usually have what we need.
Maybe we got gifts we are still puzzling over, but we at least got gifts. In other words the holiday came, saw and conquered us a little, but we're OK. Take a moment to remember the good things too. This year depending on where you live you may have has anything from snow to tropical weather and that full moon on Christmas? That was downright magical.
We all get the post holiday blues. It is totally normal and doesn't make us bad pagans or witches. It's normal for many of us to feel a little let down after all the planning, parties and circles are over for another turn of the wheel. But if we tune into that wheel we know we have things to look forward to.
Already the reborn sun God is growing up, so to speak. The winter weather Gods will seemingly stay forever, but in due time He will bring Spring and with it, warmth, green grass and bunnies! Then the seasons will whirl around us and before we know it Yule will return.
Taking our time to savor where the wheel is now is part of what makes life magical. Yule is gone for some, still on for others, but we can all enjoy the connection to our Gods and the blessings of the winter season.