That Grey Area between Christmas and New Year...
It's a strange grey day in more ways than one. The sky is a shade of wet mouse. The air is thick with drizzle that is not quite rain – almost as if the weather can't be bothered. As I look from the window there is a feeling of, what exactly? Not melancholy, no, it's more indifference tinged with inactivity. For these are the strange days between Christmas and New Year where nobody knows quite what to do. All the family traditions are heaped upon Christmas. The protracted build up, the socialising and the big day followed by boxing day. Then it's done and then what…?
For the young, a New Year Party beckons. Even so, there is this strange gap. In my youth, we had a purpose known as 'The Sales'. This was a wild, exciting time when every store turned out its old stock for folk to sift through, hoping for a bargain. 'The Sales' even made the national news. There always seemed to be a record number of shoppers who had stood in line overnight in the snow to snag a bargain and much footage of people laden with bags and grim determination. Unlike Black Friday, shopping for bargains required a degree of physicality. Now, without even this pastime, the last few days of the year are even more empty than before.
For myself, I don't miss the shopping. But there are things I'd like to do with this week. The trouble is, I am told most firmly by family members that it is still Christmas (when clearly it isn't). My pleas to take down the decorations are met with derision. They want to prolong the festivities whilst I would like to tidy them away and start afresh.
By the end of the week, I will have won the argument. But it is going to take some dedication on my part. Until about two days before New Year's Eve, I am in stealth mode. Peripheral decorations magically remove themselves when no one is looking. The small fake tree on my study the window ledge returns to its box. I grab tinsel from mirrors and pluck Christmas cards from bookshelves. I neatly piled all beneath the loft hatch. I relegate the drooping poinsettia and the door wreath to the compost heap. Soon the Christmas tree will stand forlorn and I will be muttering of the 'bad luck' that will befall us if we don't get the decorations down before New Year's Day. Total nonsense, of course, and something I made up when the kids were small so that I could 'get on' without too much resistance. At last, the family will concede it is time to tidy away Christmas for another year and I will have a glorious clean up. The house will feel organised again and I will be ready to welcome in a New Year.
I am sure I am not the only one who behaves in this way. (Do let me know if it's you too). So here's the thing. I think we should name this last week of the year. Because if it had a name, it would have a purpose. What about 'get ready week?' Everyone, young and old, would be encouraged (after boxing day) to get ready for the New Year. Tackle some of those small niggly jobs – like writing all the dates into new calendars or wading through the mail/correspondence backlist. And the big stuff – a vast clear up and clear out – wardrobes, cupboards. Clean those bits of the house you never get to. Start the year fresh. And of course, get those decorations down pronto so you can see the wood from the trees. Next year Get Ready Week will be my New Year's Resolution. No more wafting about in the murky grey drab I'm going to insist upon Get Ready Week.
Thank you for reading and I wish you a Happy New Year – whatever you are up to. This little blog comes out on the first of each month and is just my general musings about life. Feel free to comment, here or on Twitter. All the best, DJ