You know the routine:
The presents are open
Hallmark Channel broadcast the last movie with the same script for the season
People have gone home; leftovers are smelling up the fridge
The tree is looking a bit ragged
And somebody’s gotta put away all that tinsel!
But there is one other detail that is part of the ritual that people don’t consciously recognize. Well, they DO…but they don’t acknowledge the effect. And that’s the radio stations have packed up those 30 or 40 Christmas song into the janitor’s closet and gotten back to the same 30 or 40 regular pop songs they play the other 10 months out of the year.
Welcome to the Jungle
Jack and Diane
And, yeah, sure, okay, they’re great songs, I mean, that’s what they told you. But are you expanding your vocabulary? Are you listening to other stuff?
Because if you are only listening to what they feed you:
- On the radio
- On satellite
- On podcasts
- On TV
- On movies
- On music platforms
Then you don’t know where you are.
And to have an emotional map of your place in this world, will get you where you want to be. After all, there are 3 parts of navigation:
- Point of origin
- Where you are in the journey
The Post-Holiday Letdown is real. It’s an event psych hospitals prepare for, schools gear up for, and you know it’s coming about 10 AM Christmas day. The world may want you to move on and get back to the grindstone, the job, the desk, the mess in the house, the engine light, the bills. But a lot of us just ain’t there!
We all admit, music affects our emotions. And, like I mentioned in my previous post, Christmas music is mainly emotionally memory driven. And when you take that extraordinarily strong element away, there is a sense of loss.
And sure, commercial, or secular music certainly has emotional attachments. However, it’s the emotional shift and the sudden confrontation with the New Year that can be quite jarring.
I’ve always wished someone would write some “After-Christmas” music to give everyone a gentle letdown. Maybe it’s up to me on that one.
Until then, here is a checklist to help manage the musical/emotional shift that comes this time, every year.
- Who says Christmas ends at 10 AM on Christmas day? There is a holiday on January 6th called Epiphany. Many cultures celebrate this day as the day the Wise Men or Three Kings arrived to worship The Newborn King, Jesus. People keep the tree up, give gifts throughout this time and extend the holiday season well into January. And if you’re really looking for a reason to draw it out, Western Orthodox Christians celebrate on the 19th of January! What I’m saying here is, you don’t relegate the emotions, the music, the belief to just a few weeks a year. It’s your own life, create your own flow!
Several years ago, I was having a truly bad year. Job loss, friends left, I made bad choices on top of that, and depression. I put up the Christmas tree in August. I took it down in February. I played Christmas songs, dressed in my Christmas shirts and ties. People talked, some laughed, my friends got it and we had a Christmas party in early September.
- Don’t just stop playing Christmas music all at once. Ease out of it. Start adding some of your regular songs into the mix bit by bit. Dare to keep a couple of Christmas songs in your mix all the year through.
- Don’t look at Christmas as “Something to get over with.” How would you feel as people were leaving your birthday party, they were looking at their phones and mumbling to each other, “Geez, I’m glad that’s over with, now I can get back to my real life?” What if joy, peace, benevolence, loving kindness, patience, and love were your “real life?”
- Keep a token Christmas decoration up all year. Keep it simple, an ornament, a figurine, a photo. Keep it in a subtle place where your eyes can rest on it, rather than it being pushed out of the way.
- Find that one Christmas song you really Love. What is it about that one song that emotionally strikes you, and then find a regular, secular song that replicates that feeling. Is it the beat? The lyrics, the topic, the piano? Whatever it is, seek out a song that gives you the emotional stimulation you desire all year round.
- Invite others, have a “Take Down Party” Have others tell stories about the Christmas’ that worked, that back-fired, that went better than expected. Weed through your decorations and have an ornament exchange, to get rid of the emotionally charged decorations and bless some one else.
- If you don’t celebrate Christmas, then keep certain habits up that elevate you, nurture you and serves others on your life.
Sure, the “Most Wonderful Time of the Year” can be hard to follow up with the normal day to day, if you haven’t planned for this Annual Emotional Speed Bump. But with a bit of thought and support from friends or family, it can really prepare you for starting the New Year emotionally strong.
For Auld Lang Syne