It is that strange time of the year, the in-between time, we feel like we are at a bit of a loose end, just filling in time in a rather useless fashion. It is that part of the year between Christmas and New Year, when things just sort of stand still, like we are waiting for something to happen, but not sure what it is.
Relatives have now returned to their homes and the house seems rather silent after the laughter and non stop noise of the past few days.
The Christmas tree looks a bit sad, the decorations so lovingly placed a few days ago, now look a bit tawdry and we can’t wait to get rid of it all. The gaily wrapped gifts have all been received and opened, the hours spent choosing and wrapping them all now in the past. The only evidence of all that excitement is the assorted recycling awaiting collection.
The turkey has made too many appearances on the dinner table and the bones are in the freezer, waiting to be made into soup, to warm the soul in the cold days of January. Left over baked treats are reduced to broken bits in the bottom of various tins and the inevitable fruit cake sits abandoned.
When Christmas falls midweek, there are always one or two days when people have to go back to work, but it seems like a waste of effort to go in for just one day and it is usually a rather unenthusiastic workforce that reports for duty.
What is it about these mid festivity days, why is it such a blah time, a time of waiting for something to happen? In another few days it will be New Year’s Eve which, to many people is such a special time, however as I age, seems less special to me.
As a teenager it was a time of planning what to wear to the inevitable dance on the eve of the
new year. A new dress was almost mandatory as were matching shoes, hair would be fussed over and make-up carefully applied for the evening of dancing and excitement. If you were not with someone very special at midnight, you would be hugged and kissed by the nearest stranger, but to not be in the arms of someone you wanted to kiss was rather sad.
There was always the mad scramble to get your coat from the coat check and woe betide anyone who lost his ticket, who had to wait until all others had retrieved their coat, before being allowed to claim the left over, lonely coat, hanging on the rail. This happened to Dave one year and the resulting delay caused us to miss the last bus home. The three mile walk home, in four inch stiletto heels, didn’t really bother me. In those days I wore these kind of shoes all the time and walking home was just a romantic stroll.
Roll on a few years and four young children meant not going out as we never had money, or even the thought, of baby sitters. After a full day of wrestling with four little ones, there was very little desire to dress up and go partying, so neither of us felt we were missing out on much.
Over time, our daughters started attending their own New Year’s festivities and we would often host parties but jointly, with Dave’s parents. They were both raised close to the Scottish borders, where |Hogmanay is strongly celebrated, so they loved to celebrate the New Year. We held these parties every year and they usually lasted long past midnight, when the banquet would be brought out.
To be honest, I have never thought there was much point in the big to-do about the changing of the number of the year. If we use it as a time to change our bad habits, OK, but most of us immediately find this new, good behaviour too difficult to maintain and, if we really want to make a new start, we can do that any time of the year.
I must say, that after declaring it is not a special time, I am using the date to face forward in my recently single status. Christmas was a very difficult time, not being with the one I spent my life with, but that’s OK, it reminds me that I do indeed have a new life to live and, there is no reason at all not to make it a great one. I am blessed with many excellent friends and a loving family, and for this I will be eternally grateful.
Also I am so thankful to have the support of Jack Bennest, writing my column is such an important part of my life, so to you Jack and to everyone reading this, the very best to you all in 2020.
Do you think that 2020 is a significant number and means we are all going to view the world a little clearer? Lets hope so, better clarity may make us realise what is really important in our lives, who is important in our lives and give us the appreciation that makes us all thankful to be alive. If we are to make resolutions, let the most important one be the need to be kind to those we meet along life’s highway, some of them may be angels in disguise.