The days between

One of the things I love about our family holiday tradition is that we linger in this in-between space between Christmas and New Years, and a little beyond.

I love seasonal rhythms and this is one of mine: a slow post-Christmas period to rest, reflect, party a bit more if desired (the kids always want this, I'm less keen), and ease into the New Year.

I haven't always done this. There have been years where we've traveled during that period, or continued our holiday visiting with family but I discovered a few years ago that a true pause between the intensity of family Christmas (we're almost always hosting or staying with extended family for Christmas) and the start of the New Year is a most wonderful, helpful, and life-affirming seasonal practice for me.

Now, I block out these days on our December/early January calendar.

I'm writing another post right now, which I'll publish soon, that discusses in part, the work of making Christmas. These days of lingering and lounging around New Year's are what help me put all that effort into the Christmas holiday.

This is something I feel pretty strongly about, the importance of give and take in family life and that women, and mothers in specific (myself most specifically) don't drain themselves over the holidays "for the sake of the family".

Christmas itself isn't really a "holiday" for me, and my needs for rest and downtime are as important as my kids' needs for all the high energy and excitement they experience at Christmas. These experiences, these memories, do not materialize from a fairy wand, or Santa's sleigh, but from mother's effort.

Because I spend every day with my kids, all year round, there is no rush to fill school vacation with "togetherness", or snow activities. Except for very specific events, like New Year's Eve, we can do it next week. Whatever "it" is.

These days are mine.

It helps, really helps, that my kids are big. And it helps that they love video gaming and sleep-in really late.

snow removal crew in front of our apartment, early morning Dec 31st

How about you? Do you slow your pace, give yourself time before Life starts again in earnest.

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  • Sarah M

    Sarah M on Jan. 1, 2016, 8:33 p.m.

    "These experiences, these memories, do not materialize from a fairy wand, or Santa's sleigh, but from mother's effort."

    Yes! I love this, and I'm so glad you're not sugar-coating it at all. We need to remind ourselves (but often, our families) that this is the case. 

    We were done with schoolish things from Dec. 8, and with very little family and obligations in the month of December, it's been really nice to get just enough done that needs doing, make time for plenty of holiday 'extras', but then take the near-month off and just rest for the slow periods. This is the first season where I've had enough down-time to make up for everything else. It really does help to enjoy the festivities when they come.

    Sarah M


  • Clelie

    Clelie on Jan. 4, 2016, 9:49 p.m.


    Yes! we tend to celebrate winter solstice rather than christmas. In past years- thou most of our celebratory activities have ended up happening closer to christmas than the 21st due to work and school commitments. This year- it worked out- we were able pull off solstice celebrations on the 20th.

    I was so appreciative of having completed the bulk of the work of the season then and to be able to enjoy 2 whole weeks of taking it easy... :D

    Works for me- I hope to be able to repeat the experience next year.


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