Get rid of your January blues by embracing hibernation
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Christmas is over, the pressure is off - so stay in, eat chocolate and don't socialise. Above all, says Sharon Griffiths, love January
Poor old January has a terrible reputation. Cold, miserable, an anti-climax and definitely more month than money.
But it has one great advantage - it's the closest we can get to hibernating.
Yes, there's the small matter of work and family commitments but otherwise there's no Christmas yet to plan for. Thinking about Christmas takes up so much headspace. Lists and presents and cards and food and events and who needs to be collected and who's going to sleep where and did someone ask for two dozen mince pies….
As soon as it's over my mind collapses into the utter blankness of a blancmange. Bliss.
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Above all in January, there's hardly any shopping.
After the pre-Christmas frenzy my annual challenge is to see for how long we can last before I have to hit the shops again. It's looking good. We haven't even touched the turkey curry or ham stock from the freezer yet – and Christmas cake is very sustaining... So we're probably good for at least another two weeks.
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True, we'll probably end up with some very odd meals, but it clears the cupboards, empties the freezer and repairs some of the serious damage to the bank balance.
Yesterday I even found some brandy butter in the back of the fridge. At Christmas brandy butter is just run of the mill – but on hot toast at the end of a grey January day it is a rare and delicious treat. Diet? What diet?
We don't get many visitors this month who require entertaining, feeding and disturb my newly made up beds. There are no parties, jolly lunches or drinks dos which require me to squeeze myself into uncomfortable shoes and something sparkly.
What's more, I don't have to be NICE to people. Such a relief.
And I've never believed in making resolutions Why start a new year setting yourself up to fail? Madness.
So at the end of the day we come home close the door on the world, light the fire, eat leftovers and any random chocolate coins still surviving from the stockings. We watch our Christmas DVDs, read our Christmas books, admire our Christmas gadgets, warm our toes in our Christmas socks and think, yet again, how big the house seems with the tree and decorations gone. And not much more.
It is all mindless, effortless and wonderfully restoring.
At this time of year, magazines and colour supplements are full of advice on how to detox your life, soothe your soul and restore your sanity – many of which seem to require luxury spas at £5,000 a pop.
The answer's much simpler and cheaper. Embrace hibernation. By the time spring comes you'll be bright-eyed and energetic and ready to face the world again.
Learn to love January. You'll never regret it.
Of course if you want the world to think that your children are spoilt, selfish little wretches, then fair enough. It's up to you.
On the other hand, if you want people to beam approvingly, consider them delightful children, a joy to the world and a tribute to their parents, then the answer's easy.
Get them to write their thank you letters.
I know, I know, It's very boring. They have better things to do and so have you.
Writing a thank you letter is a small, simple sign of a civilised society. Goodness knows we need all the touches of civilisation we can get.
It helps your children appreciate what they've been given. Well, sometimes. It cheers the giver's heart and – on a purely selfish note – might encourage them to carry on giving.
A hand-written letter is the peak to aim for. It might even be treasured for years. A phone call is good. An email or a text is better than nothing.
Time is getting on. You cannot delay any longer. Once thankyous have been sent you can rest easy knowing that in a small way you and your children have made the world a better place.
And the aunties might be more inclined to send them presents next year too…