With Christmas now behind us (but the Christmas season still present…remember: Epiphany–the day the wisemen reportedly visited the infant king in the stable–didn’t happen until the twelfth day after Christ’s birth, which we celebrate on January 6th) we, like many families, are navigating the post Christmas blow over. With lost naps to catch up on and a plethora of sweet treats to recover from, it always takes a solid week for Andrew and me to help our kids recalibrate after Christmas.
In our ego-centric, over indulged, Western milieu of a society, post-celebration-let-down is a common occurrence. In a similar application, I wrote about this in A Dozen Invisible Pieces; likening it to the post-childbirth crash, often called “The Baby Blues,” or the post-marriage let down that a new mother, or new bride suffers:
“…after some time, [the glow of pregnancy] begins to wane. I distinctly remember how it sadly faded following the birth of each of my children. As sleep deprivation took over, and each baby passed his or her one month mark, whatever reverence had come my way slowly disappeared. Even as I imagined I could still feel the child’s distant kicks within my womb, I became “just another mom” with “just another baby”. Perhaps this is what leads to the strange sense of mourning many postpartum women experience.
Similar to the emotional crash that occurs shortly after a bride’s wedding day, the conversion from regal to ordinary deals a hefty blow. After being the honored guest at her own baby shower(s), the main attraction at her numerous doctor’s appointments, and the hero in the delivery room, the metamorphosis from having been pampered, coddled, and prioritized to assuming a twenty-four-seven on-call status, now on the other end of the pampering and coddling… even the most humble of women can end up feeling a little dejected. It is no wonder a new mother experiences the retreat of her recent magnetism like the wind being knocked out of her.
And so, with family visitors now gone, the Christmas tree still standing in the corner of our living room like a nearly forgotten sentinel, and a barrage of new toys, books and craft supplies strewn about the house, I am determined to fight the post holiday blues that my family’s circumstances enable us to contemplate. But if I hear so much as a syllable that rings of “I’m bored…” coming from my kids, I will have plenty of ammunition at the ready.
Here are some ideas that have been percolating in my head as the reality of two more weeks of Christmas vacation stretch before us:
* with plenty of snow around these parts, we will continue to work on the sledding hill/snow fort/series of snow tunnels that have begun to take shape in our front yard.
* with butcher paper and a combination of colored pens, pencils and crayons, we will trace outlines of each child and allow them to decorate themselves to their heart’s content
* with a couple squirt bottles and some water and food coloring, we might spray designs into the expanse of snow that makes up our back yard
* in recognition of the thoughtfulness bestowed upon us by family and friends this holiday season, we will make home-made thank you cards and, if organized and energized enough, include photos of the kids using the gift given by each loved one
* after printing off a series of photos of family/friends at our local 24 hour (or instant) print shop, we might make photo collages of the people each of our three children deems most precious to them. These collages can go on the walls of their rooms; a constant reminder of the love that surrounds them.
*after all the fudge and Christmas cookies have disappeared, and once I’m ready to dust off the baking gear again, I might teach my children how to make home-made bread (what kid wouldn’t love the privileg of pounding on a ball of dough?)
*As a writer, it’s my job to help my children appreciate the joy of writing and story telling. Again, using butcher paper or even computer printer paper or construction paper, I might work together with my kids to design a story book. Using their imaginations as the guide, I could transcribe the story they come up with and we could jointly work on illustrations.
*we will enjoy the company of other families with children of like ages who are also looking for some post holiday fun
*Let us not forget to encourage some independent play within out family. Whether a child was showered with Christmas (Hanukah, Diwali, Kwanza…) gifts this past month, or sprinkled with just a meaningful gift or two, they ought to be encouraged to cherish those items chosen for them by loved ones or otherwise invent their own creative games and activities during this post-holiday lull.
So, those are my ideas. What are yours? How do you keep your kids inspired, entertained and active during the cool-down from the busy holiday season?