It happens every year, during those dead days when the presents and the turkey and the Christmas pud start to feel overly familiar. The last few days when the New Year has been rung in but the tree’s still up and tedium reigns supreme.
We stick to the old twelve days of Christmas in our house. The new year doesn’t start in earnest until January 6th when the tree is brought down for recycling and the decorations get zipped back up into their Ben & Jerry’s cooler bag and stowed in a cupboard while the days gradually get longer.
I’ve always waited until the 6th to take down the decorations. January 6th was my dad’s birthday (he died when I was a baby) and it always seemed in some way appropriate to celebrate Twelth Night for him. The husband holds a similar superstition and so up stay the decorations and all resolutions are put off until they’ve gone away.
To be honest, there’s not really much choice. We live in a little terraced house and once the tree’s gone up, there’s limited room in the main living area. With other drawers and cupboards hidden by laiden branches, my desk (in a corner of this main room – would probably be an idea to move but I like where it sits, in a little cubby hole under the stairs) become the repository for all the festive detritus that doesn’t have a home.
As I write I’m looking at three presents that haven’t yet been given, a bowl of Christmas chocolates and another one of nuts, various festive cds and dvds, a cat pencil sharpener that squeals whenever you sharpen a pencil by sticking it up it’s bum (ok that sort of lives there and was a Christmas present), various lengths of ribbon left over from present wrapping and six rolls of Sellotape and two tubes of Araldite glue. I might not be the most consientious house frau but even by my standards that’s pretty ridiculous!
I know the obvious answer is to have a more minimalist Christmas but that’s something I just can’t bring myself to do. For me Christmas is a puddle of light in an otherwise grim season and it’s a festival I always embrace wholeheartedly. The other eleven months the house work can go hang if I’m on a deadline or the inspiration is actually doing what it’s supposed to. But for the few weeks from the second week of December until the end of the first week in January I morph into a Stepford Wife and the writing tends to take a back seat.
Consequently once the end of the season is only a few days away the tension starts building. Quite apart from all the work I know I have to do starting Monday (invoices to write, emails to send, a book trailer to shoot and some heavy editing to get stuck into) I’m itching to get the hoover out and vacuum up all the pine needles (my inner Stepford hasn’t quite evaporated yet).
I feel quite irritable all the time, waiting for the year to get started and to clear the festivities away for another year. Because at the end of all, while I love Christmas and I wouldn’t change the way we do it for love or money, after a few weeks off I’m brimming with ideas and I can’t wait to get back into that zone again and start work.
In the mean time I’m doing what I can. This is one resolution I can keep up in the brief interludes of peace I can find and the rest will follow next week. Roll on the 6th!