How to Be Merry All Year Long

The problem with holidays is that they always end.

I don’t know about you, but as soon as Thanksgiving is over, I start looking forward to Christmas. Each December day brings more houses decorated with Christmas lights, more gift ideas, and more excitement for the big day: December 25.

All that excitement culminates on Christmas Eve, and then Christmas Day arrives at last! Presents are opened, pictures are taken, food is eaten, and everything is merry and wonderful. We go to bed feeling thankful, smiling and basking in the holiday spirit. Then, we wake up…

…and it’s December 26. Hooray.

Let’s not lie to ourselves: compared to the day before, December 26 is pretty dull. Especially when it falls on a Monday (ahem, way to go, 2011). Christmas is over. 364 shopping days left. Sigh.

I always feel a little bummed when a day I’ve been looking forward to comes to an end. There’s a feeling that the magic is over. Now it’s just another regular day. Back to reality.

I’m not here to make the case that Christmas should be a year-round event. But there’s no reason why the joy associated with Christmas isn’t something we should be able to experience all the time.

Attaching our happiness to a transitory event like Christmas is a recipe for disappointment. The fact that Christmas will come and go is inevitable, and depending on it to give us joy makes our disappointment inevitable as well. Such is the case with any anticipated event: vacations, birthdays, holidays, etc.

As I was thinking about this issue, a friend of mine tweeted about something called Gradual Christmas. When I asked her about it, she explained:

I’ve just been doing Christmas-y things for the past few days and plan to keep doing so into the weekend.

And I thought, “Well there’s the solution!” While Christmas does bring joy, who says it’s only allowed to last for one day? Who says it’s only allowed to last for one month? Why can’t we wish someone a nice day with the same enthusiasm as when we say, “Merry Christmas!”?

Being excited for the holidays is great fun, but we should not rely on them to make us feel good. Rather, we must look within ourselves to find our own sources of happiness that last no matter what day of the year it is. That way, we free ourselves from depending on temporary external events to make us happy. Those days, joyous as they may be, are fleeting. Eventually, it will always be December 26. When that day comes, we don’t want to find ourselves with low spirits.

The turn of the calendar is beyond our control, but our ability to treat every day as a special one is not. The love we feel on Christmas is something we should emanate year-round. In doing so, we’ll be able to experience bliss that lasts not just for one day, but for 365.