In my view: It's betwixtmas – the season to sit on the sofa and eat cheese
We are in the midst of one of the strangest periods in the annual calendar.
Yes, it is betwixtmas – the week between Christmas and New Year.
Normal food has been substituted with cheese, Quality Street and leftover mince pies. Efforts to consume the recommended two litres of water per day have been abandoned in favour of liquid in the form of hot chocolate and wine (not at the same time). Meanwhile, the sofa is your best friend and movement has been minimal. Forget reaching 10,000 steps per day, the average person is lucky to reach 4,000 steps (from sofa to kitchen, or sofa to cloakroom).
If you are lucky enough to have time off work, betwixtmas is the one week of the year you are allowed to be the laziest version of yourself. Forget work and forget dashing around preparing for December 25. In fact, you might as well forget what day it is. Now it is the calm AFTER the storm and you deserve to chill out.
In local newspapers, time off work at Christmas is traditionally a no-no, but I have been lucky enough to be granted annual leave on a few occasions during my career.
My first betwixtmas off work was great fun, fuelled mostly by port and cheese while I gave myself over to apathy and brain fog.
The novelty had worn off by the time I experienced my second betwixtmas off work and I was soon chomping at the bit to return to routine even before Jools Holland had welcomed January 1.
So, for the last decade, I have opted to return to the office between Christmas and New Year. The building is fairly quiet, people are still in generally good spirits, the phone barely rings, the work wardrobe is a little more relaxed and you are able to sign off emails with a joyous and optimistic 'happy new year'. Plus, I always think of the precious annual leave days such a move saves me.
But this year sees me off work for betwixtmas, although it's sure to be a slightly different experience to those I had before my daughter was born.
Alas, my husband is unable to join us for the break and instead has to head back to work near Lincoln. And with a five-year-old at home to keep occupied, I very much doubt the sofa will be my best friend for the week.
Clara has never been a child to sit still long enough to watch a film, so I do not envisage cuddly movie afternoons. In fact, she goes as stir crazy as her mother when at home for longer than a day.
So, I have been searching for activities suitable for children (while also bearing in mind the possibility the pandemic might scupper plans) which will not break the bank or be too weather dependent.
The cinema, soft play and pantomime are all possibilities, but the reality will probably see us wrapped up warm and walking through the parks while we tick off the days until school and work are back in session (pandemic allowing).
I'm sure I'm not the only person who finds betwixtmas a discombobulating no man's land.
For those who live alone, away from family, or who don't have the best relationships with loved ones, Christmas can be a struggle and betwixtmas just prolongs the experience.
But if you fall into the routine-loving category like I, take comfort from the fact you are now just days away from the new year and normality (whatever form that takes next year).
I'll see you in 2022!