Saturday, 28 December 2013

No man's land

No more tree! Hurrah!
No more tree - my sewing and knitting corner restored to normal

I am always happy to see the Christmas tree come down.  It is never up for very long - this year was an all-time record from the 19th to the 27th.  The lights and excitement that come with the tree are very welcome, but the displacement of regular furniture and the cluttering up of empty surfaces with tinsel and ornaments makes me feel hemmed in and chaotic.  The moment when we pack everything away always reminds me of this book I used to read to the children when they were very little.

The removal of the tree heralds one of my favourite parts of the year: the no-man's land between Christmas and the resumption of school/university/work in early January.  Long lazy days where we might catch up with family or friends, or we might idle around the house, just the four of us, playing with new presents, watching TV or reading.  The house is full of good food so I do very little cooking after Christmas lunch - everybody helps themselves to leftovers, creating eccentric, tailor-made meals involving smoked salmon, brioche, fancy chutneys and cheeses and bits of stuffing (not necessarily all at once).  When I do feel like cooking, the amount of stock, made on Christmas day from the joint, means that it is almost always soup.  I love soup.

Today I went running (with new Christmas-present headphones), had a nap in the sunshine, watched some Friends with Olivia (who received the entire 10 season box-set for Christmas - very exciting!), ate some of the mulligatawny soup I made yesterday for lunch, did a few more rows of stitching on my kantha quilt, and read a little bit from two books I received as Christmas presents: Eat, the latest Nigel Slater book, and A Handbook for Nurses (published 1920).  This afternoon Graham and I are both going out and meeting up later at the pub.

A Handbook for Nurses - such a wonderful present

Really, what could be nicer than all this?  These days of Christmas no man's land are very special days indeed; that tipping point between the end of one busy year and the start of the next.


  1. I too love this quiet time. I still keep my tree up for a while though x

  2. Yes, yes, yes. What I love about this time is that all the relatives have been done and dusted and we can just please ourselves. that and the fact that the house is full of booze and chocolate.

  3. It will come as no surprise to you that I am sat here with a pile of Christmas books and Nige is top of the's a good one! Although it does mean I may have to start doing some cooking again around here.

  4. I love this time of year as well. Utterly relaxing. And I'm a big fan of putting away all the Christmas decorations as well. How lovely everything is when order is restored. I haven't plucked up the courage to do it yet though! Good to hear your making a kantha quilt, I look forward to seeing it.

  5. I'm entirely with you on the quiet pleasures of the post Christmas period but definitely not on the premature removal of your tree. Ours stays up until the twelfth night, brightening up our dark winter evenings.

  6. I must be unusual in that I always find this period between Christmas and New Year flat, a bit of a come down after the big build up of the whole thing. But this year, we were travelling about for about a week visiting family and friends, so it has been nice to come back to the quiet of our home.
    Lovely Kantha quilt.

  7. I'm with Sharon - climbing the walls! Roll on New Year and getting on with normal life. I can clearly only cope with a couple of days worth of indulgence.

  8. I'm another one who feels in limbo at the moment and I can't wait for the fresh start of the new year. Perhaps I should take a tip from you and take down the tree.


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