Saturday, December 28, 2013

The 'In-Between'

For me, the five days between Christmas and New Year's Eve always feel strange, like suspended animation or a waiting period between action scenes, the great, short 'In-Between'. Perhaps my attitude is a let-down because of all the emphasis put on shopping between Thanksgiving and Christmas and the frenzy involved, or perhaps having two such big celebrations so close together at the beginning of winter. Two holidays filled with certain expectations and both representing endings and beginnings so close to each other seems odd, especially with all the advertising, feasting, decorating, and lights involved. In the In-Between, I've often experienced elation or disappointment about Christmas for one reason or another, and dread or anticipation about the end of another year and the beginning of a new one. In the In-Between, life for adults returns briefly to normal daily routine, while for children and students it is winter break, which often causes babysitting problems for adults. (Why is winter break at the beginning of winter? Doesn't it sound more sensible to have winter break in the middle of winter? Just a suggestion.) We could redistribute those In-Between days to other months, shorten December, have New Year's Eve the day after Christmas, and begin the New Year right away. Another suggestion.

It feels like with all the build-up for Christmas and New Year's, we need more going on in the In-Between. Something to keep the excitement and festivity rolling. Perhaps that was the drive behind the Twelve Days of Christmas, but of course, twelve days is really overdone. It doesn't have to be the whole day, even the big day celebrations don't last all day even if you get the day off work, and I'm not suggesting time off work. A festival of an hour or two not disrupting anything else.

Maybe Kwanzaa, a relatively new holiday construction, serves this In Between celebration purpose — although I believe Kwanzaa originally instituted to replace Christmas. Today is Ujima in the Kwanzaa calendar. A day about work and responsibility. Sorry, I can't get excited. I celebrate work by going to work, and face responsibility every day. Again, I'm reacting to a title, I think Ujima is about improving the community and problem solving.

Still, the idea behind Kwanzaa seems sound. I think we ought to have at least a day of reading. Everybody buys a new book (Christmas gift?) and reads on Reading Day. How about a day of introspection before all those New Year's Eve resolutions are made? How about a day dedicated to writing or journaling to go with that introspection? Think of all the critical and creative thought that would inspire! I'm sure if everyone put their minds together, we could come up with many great ideas, and conceivably end with a pick and choose your daily festivity for the In-Between.

After all, we should make the most of the In-Between in rituals and festivity for winter follows for way too long.



Big Mike said...

Yeah, think that's true for most readers to. Across six years of tracking my site visits, this week has repeatedly been the lowest point of the year.

Michael Davis (
Author of the Year (2008 and 2009)
Award of Excellence (2012)

Julie Eberhart Painter said...

Feast days are the up, and you know what follows "feast"? Famine.

I prefer a steady as you go life. Celebrate every day. Read every day, and always love and gift those in need every day.

Liz Fountain said...

Love the idea of making every day a small (at least) celebration. There is always something to be grateful for.