So, after all the planning, preparation and expense, Christmas is over for another year.
Just when is that defining moment when you let go of all things tinselly and infused with Santa's magic and begin to welcome the new start. Is it when the decorations come down or the last slice of Xmas cake is consumed? Or is it when the chocolate excesses are fully converted to waistline expanding extra poundage and can no longer be ignored? I think for me, the one defining moment is when the binman comes to collect the overflowing black bin to relieve me of the seasonal waste destined for landfill.
Waste management over Xmas can be a nightmare. I was doing quite well with it, recyling wherever humanly possible and compacting to the limits of compactability. But then the urge for a post Xmas clear out threatened to overwhelm me if I didn't give in to it. The resulting bags of rubbish were bags of rubbish too far. I was at least able to hide them away in the green bin until such a time as my black bin was emptied of the burden of consumer madness.
The binmen have done their job. The black bin is nearly full again already but at least the green bin is emptier. And Christmas is definitely over.
In a rare quiet moment recently, my husband asked me Have you had a good Xmas darling? I hesitated before answering, In so many ways it has been a wonderful Xmas - a house full of family, friends and laughter, community events that have meant the focus of Xmas hasn't been solely inward facing to our own little bubble of home, great food, warm fires, the joy of experiencing the wonder through the eyes of my little ones and even some snow. So why the hesitation? Why could I not respond with Yes, it has been the most magical of times!!
I think the problem must lie within me. It is a bit like I am a crystal glass waiting to be filled with the finest champagne. The champagne is flowing freely, my glass is filled ... but there is a crack, a tiny crack that no one can see. Not even I know it's there until the sweet liquid has run slowly away and the bubbles are gone. It doesn't matter how many times that glass is refilled, the result will always be a disappointingly empty glass and a bemused wondering of where all that lovely champagne has gone.
Maybe it is simply because my life moves so quickly. There is always something going on, some new demand made of time or attention. There is rarely a moment to stop and reflect and truly marvel at all the good things happening all around me. When I do stop, it tends to be because I am in a state of exhaustion - not a good frame of mind to consolidate the 'happy' and plug that destructive crack in the glass.
I now have that annoyingly catchy jingle stuck in my head from the Autoglass ad (Autoglass repair, Autoglass replace) Clearly what I need is the psychological version of Autoglass - but what is that?
I used to find that blogging gave me the moments of reflection I craved but over Christmas, our computer took a terminal turn for the worse. Without the convenience of my beloved Mac, I got out of the habit. I am back now with a minimalist set up that involves my i pad and a dinky little keyboard. I could grow to love it but it does seem to be slightly awkward. Maybe being reacquainted with my keyboard (albeit a dinky one) is all the therapy I need. I am definitely prepared to try blogging for my sanity by whatever means available!
Or maybe all I need is a really good rest and a change of scenery. I do understand now why the holiday providers are so keen to advertise exotic destinations as soon as the 'must have' toy commercials have done their best to persuade impressionable minds what they really want for Christmas.
So what did I really want for Christmas that I didn't get? What was the mystery 'must have' ingredient that would have made me answer my husband with a resounding YES when he asked me the fateful question that got me thinking about my dissatisfaction in the first place. It is simply (and impossibly difficultly) more time and energy to enjoy everything that I already have.
I did attempt a few time saving strategies. I will share one time saving triumph and one disaster before I draw a line under Christmas and move forward into the new year.
Triumph - Instead of spending hours decorating my Christmas cake, I made the decision to go naked. No one in my house actually likes marzipan or icing anyway. Naked cake is the way forward for us.
Disaster - Time spent agonizing over what to buy my husband, buying it, wrapping it and keeping it hidden were all saved. I didn't get him a present. I still feel bad about it.