Every year, a distressing number of people trot out the line that whilst Christmas is all well and good, and New Year's Eve is a shiny sparkling vision of loveliness, the bit in between these two shimmering beacons is dull and boring. They are wrong. The week between Christmas and New Year is actually the best week of all, for the following incontrovertible reasons:
1. Residual festiveness, without the actual hard work of continual jollity. The Christmas lights are still up, there is still a chance of hearing Fairytale of New York on the radio, and yet all the relatives have gone home and you don't actually have to get dressed if you don't want to.
2. New stuff to play with. I know that some people get rubbish presents for Christmas, and I am sorry for this. But my friends and family know me pretty well, and always give me a splendid mix of the ridiculously glamorous and items that any grandma (and me) would be glad to receive. Thus I have been out today bedecked in gaudy finery, and yet am writing this with a lovely new blanket over my knees. Perfect. The cat agrees.
3. Shopping in the sales to buy more stuff. I am not one of those crazy people you see every year on the news, queueing up in sub-zero temperatures at four in the morning in the hope of snagging a bargain, but equally I do embrace the concept of buying more stuff for less money. True, the leftover Christmas gifts do look a little forlorn on their ravished shelves, but I care little for this as I skip off triumphantly in my new £15 Oasis dress.
4. Bars and restaurants falling over themselves to lure you in. I am something of a restaurant tart (yes, yes, I know - I do hide it well), willing to have my head turned by any offer that looks worth my while. And at this time of year, my email account is overflowing with choice deals that aim to break my resolve and get me to part with my cash (yes, how little they know me.) Take today's deal, for example, a voucher for All Bar One - the best chain bar none *smirks at own wit* - that entitled us to have a bottle of (decent) wine, a plate of astonishingly good calamari, a dish of meatballs and a whole baked camembert for fifteen quid. Although, a word of warning - if you do break off in the middle of a day's shopping to consume a whole bottle of wine, you are liable to become emotional in TopShop and then fall asleep on the train home with your mouth open in an unattractive manner.
5. No work. Apologies for this one if you are one of the millions who actually DO have to work between Christmas and New Year. I, however, do not, and as a jammy teacher I naturally expect my two weeks off as my just entitlement. The difference is that this is the one time of year when my husband is off work at the same time as me, meaning that there is someone there in the mornings to bring me a cup of tea in bed. Oh, and spend lots of quality time with, etc etc.
6. Turkey leftovers. I love turkey. In fact, I love everything about Christmas dinner, but particularly the turkey, and I positively welcome the leftovers that it inevitably brings. What do you mean, you're bored with it? You have it ONCE A YEAR! Now, go and rustle me up a nice turkey sandwich with extra mayonnaise this instant.