Ignore Those Fading Sleigh Bells

Every year, it surprises me how quickly the holidays end. It’s an American thing, really; the idea that you do New Year’s Day and then, bam, you’re back to work immediately afterwards. I grew up in a country where we had the good manners and laziness to agree that you need at least a day after that to get used to the idea of getting back to normal, and preferably even more time if the New Year falls anywhere close to a weekend. “The holidays” when I was a wee kid were a two week period surrounding Christmas and New Year, and that’s just stuck in my brain as the accepted period ever since. Of course it’s two weeks: one for each of the holidays. Obviously.

It was, I think, my… first US holiday season that I realized things worked differently here. Either the first or second year after I got married, I remember we spent Christmas with her family and New Year back at home. I was back in the office on January 2, and I thought it was an unusual thing, something I commented on to other people in the office: can you believe that we have to work on the second day of the year I asked, and every single person said, “Yes, I can, that’s what we do here, what is wrong with you?” or some variation.

It was maybe the year after that when I had to work the day after Christmas and that just felt wrong on a molecular level. That’s still a holiday! It’s Boxing Day! It’s a thing, I believed (and still believe). Again, the rest of the United States didn’t share my outrage.

Maybe this is best; maybe it’s good that we move on so quickly, and don’t dwell on the fact that we’re still in the official 12 Days of Christmas. (They last until January 4, because they start on Christmas Eve, in case you didn’t know.) It’s a new year, after all, and a new beginning for those who like to think that way. Let the holidays fade into the background quickly while we all turn our attentions to what’s next. Well, except for those of us who’re grumbling about the fact that we’ve not even taken the tree down yet and what the fuck.

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