I woke up thinking about Christmas this morning. So much still to do, and running out of days to do it. I sort-of resent all that effort, for what amounts to three days of feeling under pressure, hours spent cooking and eating, and then it’s all over until this time next year. That made me think about how we approach our year, divided into ‘before and after’ so many occasions.
We find ourselves saying things like, ‘I will do that after Christmas’, or ‘OK, I will get that done before Christmas’. Speaking personally, I have often used Christmas as an excuse to put off things I know I should be doing. It has become a convenient barrier in my mind, and an excuse accepted by most people too. For me, ‘I will do that after Christmas’ has become an annual standby to accommodate a list of chores or tasks that I could probably do just as well tomorrow. Following straight on from the 27th of December, the New Year celebration offers a short break to add to my list too. ‘I will do that after the 2nd of January’ is perhaps my least effective excuse, but that doesn’t stop me from using it, I assure you.
As well as Christmas, we have other seasonal breaks to add to that arsenal of potential excuses. Easter is a good one, as it moves around, with no fixed point. ‘I will do that after Easter’ is very useful, especially when it comes to those Spring jobs needing attention in the garden. The summer holiday is another classic. The annual two-week break is planned so far in advance that there really is no excuse to use it to put things off. But I always try. ‘I will do that when we come back from holiday’ has been a solid excuse in my repertoire, for as long as I can remember.
Of course, my birthday is the best. Despite knowing when it is every year, and the fact that it is just one day out of 365, (or 366) I can deploy this as a genuine excuse at will, with no hint of conscience or guilt. ‘After my birthday’ has long been my favourite, and my most stubborn excuse for not doing anything I know I should be getting on with.
If I was American, I would no doubt be able to deploy Thanksgiving too. And it is just as well I am not a devout Catholic, as there are at least 14 official religious days I am sure I would have to observe.