I’ve often said the build up to Christmas is almost better than the day itself. There are various parties to attend, decorations to put up, presents to wrap, and I love getting into the spirit and feeling all Christmassy. But then Christmas Day comes, with all that build up and expectation attached, and it invariably doesn’t live up to the hype. And then what? Just a blank space at the end of the year, with nothing but New Year’s Eve to look forward to before heading back to work? Well, I’ll let you in on a secret: the week between Christmas and New Year’s is my new favourite part of the whole season.
Maybe I’m getting on a bit, but it seems to me that the last week in December is the unsung hero of the year. It’s the long sigh after the wait with baited breath. It’s the sweet release as the Christmas excitement moves into Boxing Day chill. It’s the accumulation of you saving up your holiday days just so you can have a week of doing nothing and going nowhere. No plans, no expectations; just long walks, spending days on end in your pyjamas and curling up with a good book. It’s absolute heaven.
But the thing about the last week in December is; there’s nothing special about it. It’s book-ended by two major events, and so we use it as an excuse to have the week off from life, but there’s nothing particularly special about the 27th to the 31st of December. So if it’s so great, why don’t we do it more often? Why don’t we spend more afternoons drinking hot chocolate and doing a puzzle? Why do we spend the rest of the year making thousands of plans and getting super stressed, tired and busy? Why do we need the excuse of the Christmas/NYE bookends before we can take some proper time to relax and look after ourselves?
Here’s a hint: we don’t.
We don’t need an excuse to take a break from it all, because it’s something that we need and are meant to do. If you’re a Christian, you know that on the seventh day God rested and modelled for us a habit of a lifetime – Sabbath. It’s inbuilt in all humankind that we need to rest, we need to take a break, we need to say “No” to life more than one week in a year.
And so in this magical last week of the year, I invite you to carry the no-plans-attitude on through to 2019. Let’s intentionally set aside time for doing nothing, and guard that time as precious. Blank it out in your calendar, get extra things done in advance if you have to, but do whatever you can to ensure that, throughout the year, you have regular time and space to stop, relax and breathe.
Written by Chloe Satchell-Cobbett, Deputy Editor, Liberti