Chrimbo limbo

It’s a tough come down from Christmas. All that early morning chocolate gorging, sibling-induced tantrums, and frenzied present unwrapping. There’s a lot of emotional ups and downs – and that’s not to mention how the kids must feel. Rachel has some dos and don’ts to get you through this downbeat period known as Chrimbo Limbo…

Christmas Day has passed but, oh no, Christmas isn’t over yet. At this slightly depressing time of year what you really want is to jet off to Barbados (half a day in Champney’s would more than do). But instead you must face the Christmas aftermath: a nearly naked Christmas tree and other dust covered, wonky decorations hang limply; a load of new plastic crap (that looked great on the box but is actually considerably smaller and tat-like that you imagined it to be) must be sorted through and stacked away somewhere (where?!); and the pressure to alchemise the turkey leftovers into some nutritious and zingy creation the whole family will love is becoming more urgent as each hour passes. Parents feel sluggish and are verging on alcoholism, our bodies twitching if we don’t get a glass of wine / a Bailey’s / a beer / a margarita at lunchtime, as was the norm over the festive period (or is that just us?). Oh, and don’t forget the massively depleted bank account…

Yes, it’s true what they say: what comes up must come down. And now we face the come down from a period where we all go a tiny bit mad: spending too much, drinking too much, being with family way more than what can be considered natural…

So what are the best ways to cope with this in between period? This winter hinterland? I’ve pondered and postulated and come up with the following:

DO make some room for new toys by filling a few bin liners with old ones for the charity shop.

DON’T tell the children you are doing this. Unless you want your 4 year old to re-engage with his pull along telephone and suddenly become inseparable with that f*cking annoying Bob the Builder musical builder’s hat.

DO have a postmortem of Christmas interactions with relatives with your other half. It will relieve all that pent up aggression and anger that you sat on all day whilst smiling and rubbing along nicely for the children’s sake. A good rant gets it all off your chest.

DON’T send them a brandy-induced text saying that their charades skills are almost as sh*t as their presents.

DO keep drinking alcohol / smoking / eating stilton and pickled onions an hour after every meal. Just do chosen vice a little bit less each day until, by the time NYE comes around, you are ready to become an entirely different person who doesn’t drink, smoke, exercises regularly, and never snacks between meals. Because that is possible. Isn’t it? Please tell me it is.

DON’T make too many New Year’s Resolutions. Just make one, a realistic one, and stick to it. Well, for at least a fortnight. Or as long as it takes for people to forget what yours was – including you.

DO use the organic turkey carcass to make a basic stock and freeze it. Strip the meat and freeze that too. It’s OK to have had enough of turkey. I have too, friend. In July you might fancy turkey soup. You never know.

DON’T chastise yourself if you decide to give the cat / dog a post Christmas banquet using the organic turkey and homemade stuffings. Heck, they deserve it – why not pour them a glass of Bailey’s too – animals LOVE Bailey’s!

DO consider going out for Christmas dinner next year.

DON’T book it yet. You’ll only be coerced into cancelling it by other family members who want to come to your house and let you slave over dinner preparations for a week before they polish it off in 18 minutes then look on as you tidy up as well. Bitter? Not me.

DO buy some stuff in the sales.

DON’T leave the house to go to the shops. Do it all online, thus avoiding potential for bumping into one of those new breed of vicious shopping thugs as seen on Black Friday news reports. I am seriously scared and may never go shopping in any sort of sales situation again. Then again, you should only be worried if what you’re after is a 52″ TV from Asda.

DO try to get out for some fresh air.

DON’T be too ambitious if you have kids. Remember, you were out of breath when you walked to the fridge this morning, so carrying a 2 1/2 year old on a 3 mile walk may not be the best idea. (Don’t worry about your current state of fitness, it will all be addressed come January, naturally)

DO make the most of your time together as a family during this no work, no school period. Even if it’s just a couple of days.

DON’T feel guilty when you breathe a massive sigh of relief once Monday morning comes around and everyone goes to back to work and school and things get back to normal. REJOICE! (Who knew normal life was so good, eh?)

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