The ending of Christmas can be a mix of many different feelings and emotions that can sometimes be confusing. As my post-Christmas gift to you, here's a handy guide to help you work through them all.
Disappointment: It's over way too fast. You spent countless hours of time, energy and stress working up to this moment and by 6:04 a.m. all of your hard work is nothing but a big pile of red and green trash (unless you're my grandmother -- "Save the boxes and bows!") that can probably be seen from space. Also, you didn't get a pony. Or maybe you're disappointed because you did get a pony-because honestly unless you own a petting zoo what are you going to do with a pony? Oh, and remember that sweater you were going to return? It's disappointing when you find it still in your car next July, still ugly, but now un-returnable AND ugly.
Relief: The mad dash to get everything bought, wrapped, baked, delivered and eaten is finally over. It's at this moment I think how nice it would be to take a six-hour nap until it's time to go to my great-aunt's annual Christmas party, and then I am reminded that we have approximately eight tons of new toys to open and play with and those six hours will be spent removing more twisty ties from the backs of toys than it would take to circle the earth if you laid them end to end. Twice.
Terror: That moment when the "But it's CHRISTMAS! I have to get it!" is over and you realize how much you actually spent. There's also terror when you step on the scale because "But it's CHRISTMAS! I have to eat it!" and you start thinking that maybe eating an entire spiral ham, two coffee cakes, half a pecan pie, two dozen different appetizers that consist of nothing but crescent rolls, sausage and cheese, countless cocktails, and every cookie species known to man over a three day period wasn't the best caloric decision you've ever made. Then my own personal favorite, terror when you start to ask yourself the same question I ask myself every single Dec. 26: "Where am I going to put all this crap?" Because while my ownership of things has nearly quadrupled in the span of one day, my living space is still, regretfully, the same size it was before Toys R Us relocated into it.
Surprise: You know those toys your kids haven't played with in a year? The ones that have sat on a shelf or in a corner literally untouched for 12 months? The minute you try to give those away to make room for the new stuff you have suddenly Eureka! -- uncovered the greatest most interesting toys the world has ever known. Tip: those big black lawn and leaf bags are your best friend for when you're ready to distract your kids and de-hoard the house. More surprises follow when you uncover that Netflix movie you lost seven months ago, a diamond earring, 500 ponytail holders, your sunglasses, the remote, your cellphone charger, three bags of Christmas gifts from last year and the dog in your attempt to "de-clutter."
Most of all there's the feeling of joy. Joy that comes from good times with family, celebrating the reason for the season, watching the wonderment of Christmas through your children's eyes, and the greatest embodiment of joy there ever was -- stretchy yoga pants and several more months before you have to wear any clothes that reveal skin.