Last Saturday evening I was at a Laser Quest party…..because I have a 6 year old so that is now where I spend my weekend evenings. Anyway there I was in my cosy jumper, jeans and super-comfy boots that I have lived in all winter; chatting to my friend who was all wrapped up in her lovely big shawl. And we were talking about being comfy and cosy, and about the fact that actually, we were really quite liking January.
I know. I am surprised too; but this year I do.
I like the feeling of calm compared to the frenetic pace of the last few weeks. And yes, I do love Christmas; but those levels of excitement are simply not sustainable for small children. A return to normality isn’t always bad; sometimes it is just what we all need. It is definitely what my boys needed.
I like the feeling of possibility that a new year brings: things you’d like to achieve, books you’d like to read, films you’d like to see, theatre trips you’d like to book, days out you’d like to go on.
I like reading the 2017 supplements that come with the newspaper and circling all the things I’d like to do.
I like the filling in of an empty diary – yes, a paper one. I’ve never got the hang of this diary-on-phone business. I like turning the pages and seeing the empty weeks ready to be filled.
I like being able to be spontaneous, because no-one makes plans in January.
I like frosty walks followed by a hot cup of tea. I like coming in from the cold and offering my children a cup of warm milk…..little things like this make me feel like a proper mum.
I like going out and not feeling crushed by December crowds. I like the space and the relative quiet. I like knowing that the places we’d like to go won’t be charging a premium just because it’s December.
I like being at home on a dark evening without needing to think about what I’ve missed from my Christmas to-do list.
I like that school is once again just school, with a bit of respite from the non-stop reminders about upcoming activities, outings, events and Christmas jumper days.
I like cosy jumpers, comfy boots, warm socks and long scarves. I like seeing my children all wrapped up in their big coats and woolly hats. I love their rosy cheeks and little pink noses.
I like big warming casseroles and roast dinners, sausages and cauliflower cheese, pies and gravy and red wine. I like crumble and custard and steamed puddings. This is pretty much my January diet.
I like having Christmas treats to dip into in the kitchen.
I like the Danish idea of ‘hygge’. Have a look here if you haven’t come across it.
I like that my ‘present cupboard’ is back to its normal role of wardrobe. I like that I can now open my wardrobe without gifts falling on my head.
I know that January brings with it plenty of challenges: tube strikes, dark days, awful traffic, bad train services; and attempting to drag yourself to work in the rain without an imminent bank holiday to look forward to. I know we miss the twinkly Christmas lights and the knowledge that our next mince pie is just around the corner. But this year, January has reminded me that routine is comforting, reassuring and necessary. And if we stop to think for a moment, we realise that we are lucky to have it.
January gives you time to just be. With fewer expectations, less pressure, and a vast supply of Christmas chocolates to keep you going.
So cheers, here’s to January. It’s not so bad.