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Surviving the Day-After-Christmas Crash

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The holiday blues set in today for many disillusioned moms.

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Once all the presents have been opened and the holiday hoopla is but a distant memory, for many, the blues and depression set in. Dr. Matthew Johnson, a clinical psychologist in private practice in Oregon, says he sees many of his mom patients suffer from post-holiday letdown. "I call it the 'Christmas crash,'" he says. "They built the holidays up as this perfect Hallmark experience, where everyone will be happy and get along, but the reality never lives up to the fantasy." He says moms get especially upset once the expensive toys they spent hours shopping for and wrapping are tossed aside the second the newness wears off. "Moms realize the presents didn't make anybody feel better, and overindulging the kids didn't pay off," he says. "Now all they're left with is a ton of clutter and mounting credit card bills." Who wouldn't be depressed about that?

Dr. Johnson says the best way to combat the "Christmas crash" is to start making changes now that will impact next year's holiday season. "The commercialism of Christmas sucks our souls dry," he says. "Put more focus on your relationships and on helping others. Volunteer with your family at a soup kitchen. Shift the focus away from material possessions and onto what really matters: quality family time."

If astronomical credit card bills are what's bringing you down, start saving now for next year. If you save $100 a month starting in January, you'll have $1,200 banked by December. That way, you won't have to go into debt to cover your holiday spending. A debt-free Christmas in 2011? We like the sound of that!

Are you experiencing the "Christmas crash" or post-holiday blues?

next: Divorcing after a Baby
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