Last night, we took down our Christmas tree and packed all the festive decorations away. It's a task that always makes me sad because it marks the end of the holiday. The child in me loves the glitter and pretty lights but my adult self realises that we need the space and normality. My husband has returned to work, the children are back at school and the Christmas tree is in the attic.
This time of year, when the decorations are down, the weather is grey and our purses are empty, life can appear drab and a chore. Many of us will have put on a few pounds over the festive break. Without the decorations, our homes may seem rather plain. It can all feel as if there's nothing within reach to look forward to, which is exactly the time when a bit of imagination can work wonders.
The first thing you need to do is work out what it is you miss about the Christmas holiday. Is it the colour and sparkle? Is it the chance to dress up? Do you love the opportunity to see absent friends and family? Perhaps you enjoy writing all those cards and making contact.
When you've decided what your favourite part of the season is, you can use your imagination to devise ways to work those elements into your year. Here's what I'll be doing to keep the festive spirit alive all year round.
Just because the tree and decorations are packed away doesn't mean that you have to relinquish colour in your home until the next Christmas. Whether you treat yourself to cut flowers, buy a new throw or paint a feature wall in one of your rooms, there's always a way to introduce colour into your home. It doesn't always have to involve spending money. Take a fresh look at colourful accessories, bedding and soft furnishings you've stored away. Get creative and make a suncatcher or display your children's creativity by hanging their artwork in your home.
Staying in touch
In our ever mobile society, most of us have friends and family who live away from our area, maybe even in a different country. Why leave off contacting them until next Christmas? You sent them a card a couple of weeks ago so carry that communication on throughout the year. It doesn't have to be a letter or phone call; an email could serve the purpose just as well. The key is to stay in touch, be that every other week or every couple of months.
We all have our own idea of what this word means. It isn't just to do with Christmas presents. It can also mean donating to charity (money, old clothes, time) or dropping in on someone who needs to be cheered up. It's about going that one step further to make a difference to someone's life.
I know, you've just finished putting away all the lovely goodies you opened on Christmas Day. What more could you want? Isn't expecting more just plain selfish? What I mean by 'receiving' is this - over the year, when you're head down in your daily routine, juggling family and work, give yourself permission to receive something back too. Let your mum take you to that new tea house she wants to try out. Accept the smile of that stranger in the street. Don't push away your children's hugs in the rush to get them to school. Accept these little gems throughout the year.
How will you be keeping Christmas alive throughout this year?
Here's my small stone for today.
Like a cherished child, we swaddled our tree in it's wrappings and settled it in the box. We tucked it in with the lights, and gently packed away the baubles in their own bed of tissue.