This season exerts incredible power over people, and not all of that power is benign. I thoroughly enjoy many of the sights and sounds of the season; I love the music, getting together with family and friends, sending cards, wrapping gifts, all that stuff. I even enjoy putting up decorations and pitting my wits against those of some factory in Beijing that produces lighted lawn reindeer!
But right about this point, around the 18th or 19th, I realize that I've completely overdosed on Christmas music, movies, commercials and general hysteria. I feel like if I hear one more singer belting out "It's the Most Wonderful Time of the Year" with gusto, I'm going to have to smash something! I always (and I do mean always) feel an incredible sense of relief the day after the holiday. It's much akin to when you've been in a dentist's chair for an hour, and it's finally over: only then do you realize how very tense every muscle in your body has been!
So there is relief. And the last-minute insanity doesn't entirely kill off the good stuff before and after. May the Goddess smile on your Yuletide celebration, and may you spend less time fighting ornamental reindeer than you do enjoying time with family and friends.