Here’s a secret about the journalism world: we all hate the week between Christmas and New Year’s Day.
All right, that’s not really a secret. There’s a palpable sense of preparation in the days leading up to the holiday. There’s shopping to be done, distances to travel, suitcases to pack, and so on. And for reporters, there are stories to prepare.
Why? Because we can’t simply shut down, and neither can the newspapers and TV stations and other media. But it’s also an incredibly desolate time for news. School is out. People are on vacation. There’s nary a meeting to be had. Even holiday events are a rarity.
If you don’t have to work between December 25 and January 1, well that’s a different story. I had the fortune to spend most of this period on vacation, and it reinforced my belief that those days after Christmas are really one of the most enjoyable times of the year. After all the hustle and bustle you get to relax.
While I was on break during these days, most of the mornings passed by with a cup of coffee and a book. A good long walk or snowshoe took up another chunk of the day. I usually found time to work on a couple of personal writing projects. Before dinner there was always time to read, again, in the warmth of my family’s wood-burning stove. And after dinner, a movie or game of Scrabble usually closed out the evening.
There have been other times where Christmas essentially marks a fleeting time with my family. Getting tossed back into the desert period between the holidays brings on a premature sense of uncertainty and dread that most people experience in January in the midst of frigid temperatures.
But while you have the time off, it’s quite nice. There’s the lingering holiday feel, from the pine scent of the tree to the wood smoke in the air to the leftovers in the fridge. After Christmas music and sales extending all the way back to Thanksgiving, it’s no surprise that it sticks around awhile after the 25th.
Of course, that post-holiday melancholy sinks in pretty quickly. Last Sunday, I helped my father strip the tree of ornaments and lights and toss it outside as a temporary bird roosting place. Returning to New London, I discovered a few trees dumped alongside the garbage cans. When I turned on the radio and heard a pianist playing a Christmas tune, I had to turn it off again. After such an enjoyable time, I didn’t want to be reminded that it wouldn’t be repeated for another year.
Yet it only took a couple of days before I seemed to be back in the loop. By the end of the week, I was in the old routine of setting up articles and seeking them out.
So welcome back, if you went through something similar. Let’s see what New London has in store for us this year.