Christmas is a magical time, but often, the build-up doesn’t live up to the actual day.
As a kid, Christmas mornings were wonderful. My brother and I would wake up early to open gifts, but we could access only our stockings until the other members of the family arrived. Then the true Christmas present opening would begin.
It is a unique feeling, that anticipation. I don’t think I have ever again witnessed that 6 a.m. eagerness, waiting for the last relative to walk up the sidewalk before the living room doors were opened to the fully lit Christmas tree and gifts.
Christmas is an ever-changing tradition. During our late teens and 20s we undergo a holiday transformation from being mostly a gift receiver to a full-time gift giver. Later, as a parent, there’s a lot of work involved in pulling off a flawless Christmas morning as it becomes all about the kids.
These days I’ve grown to appreciate the week between Christmas and New Year’s Day even more than the actual day. It’s what I call “the week between.”
I love the week between. It still feels like Christmas. The decorations are still up and the traffic is gone. Life moves slower during the week between.
There is a different energy in the neighborhood during the week between. The hectic bustle is gone. Kids are playing with toys. Shoppers are taking advantage of sales. The immediacy of the pre-Christmas stress is not hanging thick in the air. It’s a time to kick back and enjoy family and friends in a less stress-filled environment.
I always take off from work during the week between, but I still go in to the office. I give everyone else the week off so no one is around. The office is quiet, and I can get a lot of work accomplished.
Here are my Top Ten favorite things about the week between:
10.) Eating all the Christmas goodies and gifts friends dropped off before Christmas.
9.) The occasional afternoon nap.
8.) Watching kids playing with gifts they received Christmas morning. Better still, playing with the toys and gifts the kids received.
7.) NFL playoffs.
6.) NCAA college football bowl games.
5.) Catching up on all the new movies at the theater.
4.) Sleeping late (at least until 7 a.m.).
3.) Bonus time with the kids.
2.) Bonus time with the wife.
1.) Leftover smoked turkey sandwiches.
Merry Christmas, happy New Year, and have a blessed and relaxing week between.
Robert St. John is a restaurateur, chef and author of numerous books.