The week between Christmas Day and New Years day is a unique week, no other week on the calendar is anything like it. No matter how cynical, old, irreligious, politically correct or just downright “anti” we may be, surely in this over-connected and over communicated electronic age, everyone has to be affected by the build up to the major holiday period of the year. Even the most reclusive and anti-social hermits.
All the buzz, Christmas carols and music, decorations, Santa parades and of course in the Northern hemisphere snow and cold add to the Christmas feeling. For those with large lists of gifts to buy, big meals to prepare, festivities to attend, the excitement (and stress) steadily increases from early December when the first neighbours start putting up their Christmas lights.
One of the few advantages of living half a world away from family and old friends is that it makes Christmas a very simple and stress free holiday. But we still feel the magic and get caught up in the festivities.
Before Christmas Day, there is that feeling of anticipation of a few happy days followed by a week when most people, even if they are not officially on vacation, take business or work a bit less seriously. A whole week to relax, recover from a few days of over indulgence, to enjoy seeing children playing with new toys or to try to understand how some of our own new toys work.
From the perspective of mid December, that week looks like an island of tranquility between a sea of frantic pre-Christmas activity and an ocean of post New Year back-to-the-treadmill routine of yet another year. The week always seems to promise an almost timeless period for both reflection on the year about to end and planning for the unknown adventures of the year just around the corner. Throw in a few casual visits with friends or family, perhaps a trip to exchange defective or unsuitable gifts and the week still seems to offer plenty of time.
This end of year week is anticipated with real pleasure by most people.
The reality for many people is quite different, despite all the plans and hopes, the week that seemed endless in contemplation, becomes condensed into just a few more hectic days and then preparations start for more celebrations to see the New Year in with yet more over indulgence, a day to recover and then it is time to tackle the new year head on.
For a baby boomer like me who long ago gave up the practice of seeing in the New Year, the week is a great opportunity to reflect on the old year, remember the successes, savour the achievements and pack the few disappointments away in the archives. A time to finish my plans, goals and vision for the New Year. And also for me and I am sure many others who have left their own countries either involuntarily or by choice, a week tinged with nostalgia.
Memories of previous Christmases spent in beloved homelands, familiar homes and with cherished family and friends no longer around. Some like us scattered to the four corners of the earth, others cut down before their time by conflict or disease and others, older, who just ran out of their allotted shares of years.
Yes it is a unique week, time to be happy, relax and prepare for the next year.
How is this week unique for you?
After a decidedly brown and grey (with a little green) Christmas here in South West Ontario, we got our snow on 27 December, more on the 28 th and 29 th.
If there are two things that we need to achieve our goals in 2012, they are action and commitment. I am committed to losing the last few pounds I put on after my heart attack last year and here is a photo of me taking action by going for my daily walk despite the snow and cold.
Best wishes for a Happy New Year and success in 2012 beyond your wildest dreams.