For those of us who live in the North East, the After Holiday Glow wears off pretty quickly as January arrives, leaving us with two more months of cold, dreary weather and a bad case of the blues. Unless you are a winter sports buff (and aren't we all!), January and February have earned their reputations as the bleakest months of the year.
I would like to suggest we extend the holiday season, not backward into the fall months which the big box stores have already done, thank you very much, but forward through February.
This is not about holding onto your homemade holiday fruitcake to give as a Valentine's Day gift instead. It's more the getting-together part of the holidays that would benefit from additional time. Face it: We stuff way too much socializing into the December calendar.
For example, do soccer banquets really have to be held in December? Do annual dinners for organizations? Must you go out to lunch or dinner with every friend you have during the season? Wouldn't your friends be just as glad to meet you for lunch in January? And who wouldn't enjoy receiving a small gift to brighten up the days after the holiday decorations have been put away? (I know I would, hint, hint).
I suppose the reason behind all this December hustle and bustle was the fear that if activities were planned during the dead of winter, they would never happen, hence the term "dead of winter." Inclement weather does play its part in wrecking plans occasionally and truly, the first months of the year must have been seen as a welcome respite from all that family time in December.
But consider what a nice antidote having dinner plans with friends in the wintry months would be to all those mind-numbing TV reruns. And chances are pretty good that your friends won't have any conflicting plans when you ask them to join you.
Next year, let's plan our activities with an eye on all those empty calendar days looming ahead in January and February. You might be surprised by how much friends and family appreciate that you've taken the initiative to expand on the holidays and all they have to offer. Replace "What do you think about scheduling our high school reunion for the second weekend in December?" with "Got any plans for February?" It has a nice ring to it.
By Teresa K. Flatley