Whilst settling into my second coffee the other morning (29th December) I came up with a one-line comment about how I have always felt between Christmas and New Year and posted it on my Instagram and Twitter. It is a feeling that has always been punctuated by a long intake of breath and a deep, slow exhale for those in-between days of Christmas:

Those In-between Days of Christmas

For me, to a degree, this has always summed up the days leading up to New Year. I have always felt this way about the days of the 27th to the 30th December. I’ve always seen it as an in-between time, a down time, a slump between the wonder of Christmas and the frivolities of New Year; even when you try your hardest to keep the festivities going. It’s always been the period where the seasonal greeting “Merry Christmas” sadly falls away from your vocabulary for another year, with the “happy New Years” yet to come.
Now this seems quite a bleak view of the days between Christmas and New Year, but at best it has always been a bit of an anti-climax after the build up to a good Christmas. In the distant past my friends and I always tried to keep the party going, by motivating each other out of the door and into the pub or to a friend’s house for drinks. It always seemed like a preservation thing: get out of the house or festive festering will set in. But those forced drinks always seemed quite subdued, even though they often ended with a hangover.

Those In-between Days of Christmas

But now the kids are getting older, there has been a new lease of life during those in-between days. And down times are now welcome. Fidget will be five in March; Little Man two at the end of January, so this Christmas has been the first where their interaction and excitement has carried the festive break and us through to New Year.

It started a few days before Christmas with our trip to see Santa courtesy of a Dreamworks production at the Westfield Centre in Stratford. Everything was set for a really nice adventure all the way to Santa’s place at the North Pole. Our place had been booked, we had received our family passport and were excitedly waiting our departure time with two other families.

Those In-between Days of Christmas

Our hosts for the sleigh ride trip to Santa’s grotto were members of the cast of Kung Fu Panda: Po, Master Shifu and Mr Ping and a very large plate of cookies. They appeared on a big curved surround screen once we took our places in a rocket sleigh driven by Mr Ping. But Little Man had a production of his own in mind; a production that Fidget and I recognised at the same time as we took our places in the front seat of the sleigh. Much to Fidget’s toilet humour delight, Little Man went into poop mode; crouched low and with a look of absolute concentration on his face he downloaded and smiled. There was no choice but to go with the flow. Fidget winced as the first sign wafted into our North Pole adventure. There was nothing we could do, Little Man had pooped for England in a confined space the size of an average garage. My face was as red as Santa’s suit. And just as the rocket-fuelled trip got underway. Once we reached the North Pole and left the sleigh behind, Santa was waiting with parcels for Fidget & Little Man.

Those In-between Days of Christmas

It was a great experience for us all; a fantastic start to Christmas; and all immortalised in a bauble for the tree – even though Santa wrinkled his nose at the aroma of the parcel Little Man had brought with him. Such is life, Santa.

Christmas Day went by in a flurry of wrapping paper and squeals of laughter. By the end of the day and a very heavy menu, the kids were shattered but happy. They dropped heavily into bed and Fidget’s parting question before she fell asleep said it all: “Is Santa coming back tonight?”

Boxing Day turned out to be a rerun of games and family fun. As have all the days since. And that, I now realise, is the difference. There were always kids around at Christmas. With a family the size of mine, there always were lots of nieces and nephews in tow at Christmas. But I would see them for a few hours and that would be it. Then down time. That in-between slump would hit.

I guess the in-between feeling I have always had is something that’s shared by many. But now, since Fidget & Little Man, it’s no longer a LULL with capital letters; it’s a lower case lull. It’s an in-between feeling fuelled by the love and frolics of Fidget & Little Man. It’s now an in-between feeling wrapped in fun and sealed with a touch of chaos! That somewhat drab creep towards New Year has now become a very special family time, indeed. A week of happy highs and happy sighs. A golden time that will linger with a smile in my memory forever. As I hope yours do too.

Happy New Year, everyone.