HO-HO-HUM-DRUM

            "The fire which seems extinguished often slumbers beneath the ashes."                                                                Pierre Cornielle
It happens every year. The holiday fanfare: Everywhere there are colorful lights, crowds of smiling people shopping to the tunes of Holiday cheer, memorable gatherings with intimate friends set against a backdrop of brisk, snowy weather. "Currier and Ives" time; light the fireplace and break out the brandy!  There is a warm chill in the air, a friendly harbinger of great expectations and excitement that gains momentum as Christmas, Chanukah and New Year's Day approach...  
January 2nd: "Hey!  Where did everybody go?"   
The lights went out, the music stopped. Suddenly, you have stayed too long at the fair. The tempo has slowed down to a screeching halt. A somber mood covers your world like a blanket of snow, and the icy chill of winter begins to pierce your mind; a truly sobering thought for the next three months.  "What do I do now?"  
Many individuals experience an emotional lull after the holidays. They often hibernate by crawling into their shells for the winter (and refusing to come out even if they could see their shadows in early February). The next three months become planned boredom; drudgery, and an endless wait for change, like driving through the Queens Midtown Tunnel at 5 p.m.; or watching the minute hand of a clock attempting to "catch" it moving...  
If only the holiday fanfare could be extended to consume a little more of the winter "hum-drum." Could you imagine, for example, Christmas Weekend-- A three-day holiday beginning, perhaps, near the end of January?  After all, there is precedent for such unorthodox behavior (it's more than a coincidence that the birthdays of Columbus, Washington and Lincoln always occur on Mondays). However, considering the magnitude of this venture, you would probably have less difficulty changing your own birthday!  
Don't give up. Remember: When something you are doing is not working, stop, and do something else! Use your own creative resources (those stored visions, sounds and feelings of occasions in which you were able to cleverly and confidently achieve desired outcomes) and reframe the "hum-drum" quality of winter to mean something else. That is how Tom Sawyer changed a boring white-wash into a painting party; and the way a tedious flight departure delay can become an opportunity to meet someone unforgettable; or how on repeated occasions, a child's fingerprints on your foyer wall may be transformed from an annoyance to a sign of warmth, activity and a loving home.  
 How can you reframe winter?

· (1) Rather than considering snow and cold as obstacles, get involved in them. There are many ways to utilize snow for enjoyment. Take skiing lessons and trips; try snowmobiling. Ice skating can be fun. Did you ever rent ice fishing equipment, build a fire on the ice and have an outdoor winter party?
· (2) Wintertime seems to move like molasses when you feel trapped in your house. Spring free and organize a winter project. Does a room need painting? Could furniture be arranged differently? Perhaps you could build a new entertainment system to organize some of those Christmas presents that are still decorating your floors. Could you use some quiet weekend time to read a series of interesting novels?
· (3)...Or use winter weekend time to get away! Explore interesting, amusing or historic places in your area with the family. Plan a "winter vacation." Many people find that taking a break from the routines of their lives during the cold winter to enjoy a restful, interesting and rewarding trip makes the winter pass much more quickly; and helps reduce stress or depression which may occur after the holidays.

Now that winter is upon us, don't work against the elements. Go with the flow. Eliminate the "hum-drum" and make the "holiday-season" feeling last all season long.