The week between Christmas and New Year’s is unlike any other of the 52 in the year.
Even if you don’t have to work, there is so much to do that you don’t feel like you have had time off.
First, every speck of seasonal sparkle needs to be put away. Nothing is more depressing than Christmas decorations still up after the first of the year.
Now it is time to take down the tree. Remember to put each ornament back into its correct compartment of each cardboard box.
Saw off the larger branches so that the heart of the tree can fit through the door on its way to the green garbage bin.
Vacuum the fallen needles. Sweep them off the porch and driveway.
Remove all of the delicate Christmas knickknacks decorated throughout the house and re-pack each one back into its own container until next year.
Get the ladder out and retrieve the giant plastic red boxes that store everything.
Keep the ladder out to take down the outdoor lights; you don’t want to be that one house on the block with them still attached to the eaves in March.
No matter how one tries to carefully fill each box with the same contents in the same position, it seems that you still need one more box to fit all of the Christmas decorations.
Then it’s off to the after-Christmas sales. You buy wrapping paper and greeting cards, not because you need them, but because you fell in love with the candy cane pattern or the old-fashioned Santa face. You also buy because in some way you want to continue the good feeling of buying gifts that has just concluded with Christmas.
Once arriving back home, time to reward yourself with a ham sandwich, leftovers of the Honeybaked ham. Once the pre-sliced ham is gone, give up carving the remaining meat around the bone, so throw the rest of it away (unless you like to make soup).
And the sugar. The See’s candies, the Lindt chocolates, the tin of caramel and cheese corn, the red and green M&M’s, and the hazelnut (fill-in-the-blank). There is a part of me that wants to get rid of it all. No worries; my students will enjoy them. In the midst of a sugar high I try to figure out the last time I ate vegetables.
When you finally get to the end of the day to pick up the new biography of Ulysses S. Grant or the latest Jack Reacher novel by Lee Childs, you find yourself too exhausted to get past 10 pages. Maybe you can wake up before anybody else tomorrow morning and find some golden time to absorb all of the joy you have just experienced.
Outings need to be arranged with out-of-town guests. It’s not that the visits are obligations, it’s just that you would like time to watch that new DVD.
Don’t forget to take down the 2017 calendar and replace it with the 2018 one—but not before significant birthdays have been written in the squares for each month.
You blink and New Year’s Eve arrives. Can you enjoy yourself at home or must you join the throngs at the Queen Mary celebration? Make a reservation and don’t look at the credit card statement. Drive yourself or take Uber? Watch out for those driving while intoxicated. You want to be around for all of 2018.
On New Year’s Day, TV viewing is essential for either the Rose Parade or the football bowl games. Too bad that resolutions begin on Jan. 1 and not Jan. 2 because it is difficult to plant one’s self passively in front of a screen without overeating.
One final task remains: to plan a real vacation months down the road so you can truly relax.