How do you spend your time between Christmas and New Year? Some of us have to return to work, but many of us are on holiday, (this year, enforced as well as voluntary).
I was listening to the radio this morning and was concerned to hear the presenter saying that he felt at a loss now Christmas Day has passed and as if he is holding his breath until the New Year celebrations.
True, all the frantic making, baking, decorating, buying and wrapping has suddenly ended, but surely, this is one of the greatest Christmas gifts we can receive? Time. Stillness. Space. Peace. The opportunity to catch our breath… to contemplate, catch up, rest, give ourselves some attention and do what we really want to do with our days. To sit back amidst the seasonal decorations and drink in the time of year… the atmosphere…
The other day, after serving my family home made mushroom soup and sausage rolls hot from the oven for lunch, I sat down in my favourite chair in the living room to read a new book (one of my husband’s Christmas presents which I have purloined!) and fell asleep. Some time later I awoke to find the room deserted… only the fairy lights on the Tree, over the mantlepiece and around the AGA gave a soft glow to the room which was now full of winter afternoon shadows as early dusk began to fall. Instead of jumping up to go and do something, I simply sat and slowly took it all in… the warmth, the peaceful stillness, the sonorous ticking of the clock, the deep jewel shades of old fashioned coloured lights, the melting blue shadows outside my window, the feeding birds and snow-capped mountains beyond… This is Midwinter, this is Christmas, just as much as all the razamataz and palaver of Christmas morning.
The Solstice and the time of the ‘sun standing still’ might have passed now, but we can still take advantage and enjoy this nurturing quiet time to ‘stand still’ ourselves before the next wave of celebration to welcome in the New Year.
This is also the time that we, as a family, forget the clock and regulated meal times… eat chocolate for breakfast, read our books through the morning, play games and sing carols all afternoon and have supper at midnight – total freedom to let go, please ourselves when and as we want to, and follow our inner instincts. Other years we have gone for evening walks in the moonlight and lit garden stoves to party outside in the midnight darkness of a snowy landscape. (We might get around to that yet, depending on the weather forecast – a walk in the woods or a trip down to the beach will also definitely feature at some point in our festive holidays.)
So how do you make the most of the Second to the Sixth Day of Christmas – this special quite time between Christmas Day and New Year’s Eve – this gift of time, space and opportunity? Each and every day of our lives is a blessing, to make the most of, use wisely and enjoy…