Finding yourself deep in the doldrums after weeks of tinsel, turkey, and ho-ho-ho? Just when we think we can’t bake another cookie or wrap another gift, and when the thought of yet another glass of eggnog sends us running for the antacids, somehow a case of down-in-the-dumps seems to strike. While Thanksgiving, Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa and New Year’s can put us into uber-celebration mode, and even overdrive, those first days of reentry into our normal routines can make us feel a bit wistful and blue.
For a real pick-me-up, and to bring everyone together one more time, why not throw an apres-holiday party with hot cocoa and leftovers, where family and friends get to “deconstruct” the decorations together–even planning for next year!
For the Morrison family of Bensalem, Pennsylvania, setting aside and freezing some of the festive Christmas ham, turkey and sides, then defrosting for everyone to assemble into delicious hot sandwiches a week after New Year’s, is a time-honored tradition.
“My mother used to do this when I was growing up,” said mom Patsy. “She’d put on music and make a real celebration of taking down the tinsel, tree, and packing up holiday ornaments and knick-knacks, inviting the neighbors who were only too thrilled to help given the endless feast she’d prepare.”
At the Morrison household, crusty baguettes complement leftover turkey and ham with friends and family gathering in the kitchen to prepare homemade coleslaw and sweet potato fries. “One year we made up a pot of spicy chili,” said dad Robert, even freezing what was left over from that for the Superbowl.
With lots of kids in attendance, the Morrisons make a contest out of who can wrap and box decorations the fastest (and without casualties!)–the winners receiving prizes like movie passes or coupons for free pizza.
“We play music and even sing carols,” Patsy confessed, “because it begins to sink in that this is it until next year!”
Also for the younger members of the group, refashioning Christmas cards into collages (just add glue) gives them a takeaway they can use towards next year’s decorating effort.
“And we always end on a real upbeat note,” affirmed Robert. With February just around the corner, the Morrisons pass out departing favors–usually chocolate hearts tied in red ribbons with an invitation to their annual family Valentine’s party.
“What can I say about all the holidays?” he added. We’re just tried-and-true party hoppers — even in our own home!”