Am currently sitting in a robe, on a bed, in a hotel.
My husband Tom is taking the kids swimming. I am alone and revelling in this chilling out time.
Earlier on we all walked along a cliff path. The children moaned. Tom and I tried to have a conversation. And then we all had a lazy lunch.
We’ve been swimming. Watched TV. Overeaten on cheese and chocolate.
I’ve read two magazines.
I finally had time to absorb my Christmas presents, which were opened amid too much chaos on Christmas Day.
I’ve hung out with the kids… I’ve curled up with them… I’ve played games with them… I’ve stopped them squabbling… and Tom and I have rolled our eyes and barked at them every time they’ve asked for yet more toys, even though they haven’t played with all their Christmas presents (seriously, WTF?)
Essentially we’ve loafed about… as a family.
And I feel this post-Christmas, pre-New Year’s break is the total tonic.
Time to regroup, reconnect, and please nobody except us.
We didn’t have a big holiday this year. I haven’t been abroad for ooh at least 12 months.
But I’d much rather THIS downtime than a summer holiday.
Because, THIS time is my favourite time of the whole year.
The week between Christmas Day and New Years Eve is my absolute best.
I’ve always called it No Man’s Land.
Some of you call it Crimbo Limbo.
Hotel websites, I discovered last week, call it ‘Twixmas.’
Betwixt the celebrations.
The in between time.
When nothing is prescribed. Nothing has to be done. We can just loaf, and chill, in whatever way we see fit.
I love this time so much because it feels like a collective sigh of relief. As if the whole country is putting their feet up, dropping their shoulders and finally relaxing.
Because, let’s face it, however much we love it… Christmas isn’t relaxing.
It’s fun. It’s exciting. It’s full of cheery traditions, and family meet ups and boozy conversations with long-lost friends. But it’s also knackering, and expensive, and a bit stressful.
It isn’t like THIS.
Likewise, the Summer, while amazing, doesn’t have the same feel to it; there isn’t a collective week when EVERYBODY is off. You can’t just loaf about at home without anyone noticing.
But during THIS time… this Crimbo Limbo… the time is all ours.
It’s as if we’ve all collectively stuck a ‘Do Not Disturb’ sign on our doors.
The phone doesn’t ring. People don’t email. Nobody expects you to be somewhere… unless you WANT to be somewhere.
If we see people during this week, we know they’re special. It’s an unspoken agreement that this is valuable family time, and everything else.. can wait.
Of course, some of us have to work. I once had to work at a newspaper on Boxing Day. But the great thing is that in Crimbo Limbo week, work doesn’t feel like work. It feels like playing at work, because there’s still a sense of festive spirit.
And we haven’t yet reached the pressure of New Years celebrations, or waking ourselves up again for the 2017 – and all that life will throw at it.
So here’s a festive cheer. Not to Christmas. Not to New Year’s Eve. But to chilling the hell out, in whatever way we like, for a glorious undisturbed few days.
Yes, it would be even better if the kids didn’t moan…
But this is it: THIS time.
THIS is the golden time.
And I’ll cherish this ALL YEAR LONG.