Christmas is so often called "The most wonderful time of the year".
Less advertised is the period that immediately follows, known in many circles as "The least wonderful, darkest, coldest, and most hated time of the year in which no one brings you presents and did we mention it's cold?".
This period begins on January 2nd and ends, depending upon the climate in which you live, sometime between the beginning of Daylight Savings Time and Easter.
The official beginning of the Christmas season is, of course, the trimming of the tree.
has a similar kick-off event -- the taking down of the holiday decorations.
The putting up of the Christmas tree and ensuing decor is super-fun. It involves merry carols piping through the iPod, yummy cookie-based snacking, and general smileyness.
The LWDCandMHToftheYIWNOBYP(DWMIC?) de-decorating is not quite as much fun. Instead it is categorized by music-free drudgery, sober countings of the number of cherished family heirloom ornaments your children have destroyed throughout the season, and the occasional melancholy crunching of a carrot stick, as you've by this point promised yourself that your New Year's Resolution will be to eat fewer than 63 cookies a day.
Last year the putting away of the Christmas decorations was largely ignored by my kids. This year, however, my four-year-old became wildly concerned when he saw the advent calendar headed back into its box.
FOUR-YEAR-OLD: What are you doing?
ME: Putting the Christmas things away.
ME: Because Christmas is over.
FOUR-YEAR-OLD: No!!! Christmas isn't over! Santa is coming back!!!!
(insert lengthy tantrum of the subject of Santa's imminent return)
We finally managed to get all the Christmas stuff into the storage area, talked the four-year-old down with lots of talk about his sister's upcoming birthday cake and settled down to some "Mom's lost any desire to cook" boxes of pizza.
I woke up the next morning resolute in the knowledge that the LWDCandMHToftheYIWNOBYP(DWMIC?) had begun.
We've got three months to go. Dark nights, pestilence-filled indoor playgrounds, and approximately 72,385 crock pot dinners. That's what we've got on our collective calendars, people.
And it is for this gloomy time that I will now share with you a thought that a friend of mine in college once gave me -- something I still consider to be one of the single greatest pieces of advice I have ever received:
NEVER MAKE A MAJOR LIFE DECISION IN FEBRUARY
I cannot overstate how well this advice has served me over the years.
Because by late February you've been trapped inside, holiday and hope-free, for at least several weeks. You've lost the will to go on, and this leaves you vulnerable to extremely poor decision making. It is at times like these when you may find yourself having thoughts like
We should start a bed and breakfast in Aruba!
You know, if I had another baby I'd get to lay down for a few hours while giving birth.
I think I'll track down my old high school boyfriend on Facebook.
This Homeland marathon has convinced me that I need to join the CIA.
Any and all such thoughts you have throughout the month of February must be ignored with extreme prejudice. TRUST ME.
It's just the LWDCandMHToftheYIWNOBYP(DWMIC?) talking...