Sunday, December 19, 2010

"I Don't Want to Get Out of Bed..."

Christmas is always a hectic time of year in the Schindler household. There are parties to attend, sweets to make and eat, and visitors to entertain, along with all the ordinary responsibilities of life. I could handle a holiday season of the former without the latter, or the latter without the former, but combining the two is sometimes difficult. It seems everyone wants a piece of my time, and I want to give it to them. I love parties, and I love time with friends. But what is normally a half-year's social engagements are crammed into a six-week period, and through most of the season I feel the truth that Christmas is "the most extroverted time of the year."

That's why I'm so grateful for a Schindler-family tradition we instituted the first year we were married: hibernation day.

I'll back up a bit. We got the idea from a song from the Jars of Clay Christmas Songs album. It was released the October after we were married, and we were already feeling overwhelmed at the thought of the visits and parties to come. Abby and I would listen to this song wistfully, thinking, Wouldn't it be great to have a day when we could just hibernate like that?

Then we thought, Why can't we?

The first hibernation day was nothing special. We turned off our phones, blacked out the day on our calendar, and just sat at home. (I think I read Les Miserables for most of the day; I'm not sure what Abby was doing.) It was f-f-f-freezing in our old apartment (many of you have heard of the merry Christmas we had that year--with three of us sharing the hide-a-bed under a mountain of blankets, so I won't tell it again), but we stayed put. We ordered Chinese in, something we had thought only existed on television. We felt bad for the deliveryman as he shivered up to our door. We tipped him well but thanked God twice for the food, once that we didn't have to prepare it and again that we didn't have to fetch it.

We enjoyed the first hibernation day so much that it has become an annual event. We've debated just how much hibernation the day should entail (does eating epic flapjacks with friends in the morning violate the spirit of the holiday? does calling your mother on her birthday constitute a breach of the phones-off policy?), but ultimately it feels good simply to rest and recharge. We also use it as the day we celebrate Christmas together, which allows us to open early the presents we've bought each other (since we both get so excited to give them). And there's normally some fresh-roasted coffee involved, and a big breakfast, and a special dessert. (This year I made eggnog pie. The verdict? Good if you like custard [think the consistency of flan] and eggnog; Abby didn't care for it.) There were games, food, a movie, and most of all guilt-free non-interaction. 

All in all, I feel well rested going into this next week, and I feel more free to enjoy and celebrate what Christmas is about (hint: it's not Santa, or abstract concepts of well-wishing and cheer; it's inherent in the term).

Have any of you tried a day like this? Or do you have any other traditions to share?


  1. this is genious and as a result you are fully forgiven for skipping out on Flapjack Day.

  2. That is a great idea! Usually, we fill out holidays by driving back and forth to parents' houses. I really like this, though, and will recommend it to David.

  3. As a fellow introvert, I really like this idea, and I think it's great that you and Abby have a tradition of hibernating every Christmas season.

    This isn't an official practice, but sometimes when I need a break, I'll take a Sunday off--no phone, no interaction online, and sometimes no television. The break from technology is refreshing.

  4. I think I could use a hibernation day about once every 2-3 weeks. Maybe I'd actually get some reading accomplished.