The Coast News Group
Small Talk

In the holiday’s aftermath

Well, it’s January.  Yawn.

When I was a kid, it was the Big Nothing month.

The between-holidays month when the best you could hope for is that you’d come upon a toy from Christmas that got kicked under the bed and forgotten until now.

If you lived somewhere other than Southern California, it might mean a snow day or two and some good sledding, but this barely balanced out having to get up in the cold and dark, knowing you wouldn’t get another present or major candy haul until Easter.

Once I became an adult and parent, January became a madhouse.  January seems to be the month when everything else gets scheduled because everyone thinks it is the Nothing month.

On my friends’ lists, for example, are such items as returning Christmas presents at four different malls, Girl Scout cookie sales, the biggest school project of the year, school book fairs, at least a week where each child has a cold, attending two-day sports tournaments and a major sales promotion at work.

It is the time when everyone has finally addressed the serious need to clean out the refrigerator, shampoo the rugs, wash the windows, plan next month’s ski trip, wean the kids off their holiday diet of chocolate, peppermint and pie crust, and/or try to pull the the entire family out of its post-holiday slump.

But there is one thing worse than having no holidays in January, and that is having a birthday then.  It is doomed to be anticlimactic to a fault. The vacation time has been used. The money has been spent. The confetti has been thrown.

Often, in the aftermath of Christmas holidays, people frequently forget your special day completely. No matter their intentions, they can rarely hide the fact that they are partied out and can barely muster enough good will to sit and watch you blow out candles. They have used up all their creative gift-giving skills for the holidays and now are likely to give you stationery with dancing bears on it, a scarf in some dreadful color, or worse, some re-gifted toiletries from last month.

Meanwhile, the birthday girl, too, is so weary of putting on her festive face that all she really wants is a day alone somewhere with her bathrobe, a good book and the opportunity to sit in a hot tub until the pages and her toes are wrinkled.

It occurs to me that January is far too similar to mornings. There is always someone who is going to grin and tell you it’s a fresh, new start, the first moment of the rest of your life, a time for change, a time for improvement, a time to rejoice that we are alive and kicking.

The very thought of all that optimism makes me want to pull the covers over my head for another 15 minutes.  I think I need to go soak my fingers and toes.


Jean Gillette is a freelance writer already anxious for a month filled with nothings. Contact her at jgillette@coastnewsgroup.