We’ve been through a lot lately. A two-year American presidential campaign just came to a close, leaving many people with an itching glut of free time, that they once would dedicate to following politics. The world economy is in turmoil, as more and more governments resort to using state funds to bail out struggling businesses. And lowering gas prices only serve as a reminder of how high the prices one were, and how high they’re likely to be again soon.
All in all, it’s been a rough year, and as 2008 comes to a close, I, for one, can’t wait to leave it behind forever. That’s the great thing about the New Year’s holiday, though: not only do we look back on the year that was, recalling experiences had and memories made; but we also look forward, to the mystery of the year ahead.
Maybe 2009 will be a better year for us all than 2008 has been—it wouldn’t be too hard, really. Maybe 2009 will end up being worse. There’s no way to tell. I’m not saying that 2008 has been horrible, and there are certainly parts of it I will never forget (and in a good way). But I also can’t wait for December 31st to come around, and will love watching that great ball fall on Times Square.
The placement of Christmas and New Year’s Eve on the calendar seems like a cruel joke. Other holidays are relatively spaced out: Easter in April, Independence Day in July, Halloween in October. But between two of the year’s biggest holidays, we have only one short week.
Thankfully, there isn’t much preparation needed for New Year’s Eve, other than planning your party, or deciding which one to attend; but it can still be stressful: on Christmas, once the presents are opened, there is a tendency to look at your living room floor covered in wrapping paper and realize there simply isn’t time to get ready for the next holiday.
Some simple advice is just take a breath, and realize that though, yes, there is a mess of Christmas stuff to dispose of before New Year’s, and yes, you only have one week to move on to the next holiday, it still doesn’t need to be done right. that. second. Enjoy Christmas—the whole day—and maybe even give yourself the whole next day to unwind. And instead of rushing to take down all your Christmas decorations, you can maybe add, as part of your New Year’s celebration, a de-Christmasing ceremony. Whatever you do, however you handle it, remember this: Christmas and New Year’s—and all holidays—are meant to be enjoyed. And while yes, stress is to be expected, it shouldn’t overtake the joy of being together with family, friends and loved ones.