The leftovers are gone. The turkey bones have been boiled and the resulting soup was enjoyed. Soon, the decorations will be hung, well, by the chimney with care. Our sights set on the coming holidays, and then the new year, distract us from the impending threat of winter. Sparkling lights, abundant food and the closest friends and family all align to help us wrangle some deep-seated, primal fear about the hunger and isolation triggered by the frosty nights.
Still, doesn’t it all seem most harsh weeks past the solstice in the waning days of January? The festoons are packed neatly away, back in the attic awaiting next year. Guests have gone home. And we are focused on bringing our waistlines back into pre-holiday circumferences. But, the days remain short, cold, and blustery. Don’t we need each other much more after the fun is over?
Even the bitter and unrepentant Ebenezer Scrooge learning the depth of his error was heard to exclaim, “I will honour Christmas in my heart, and try to keep it all the year.” He could have sent a goose to the Cratchits, donated a few bucks and settled in to enjoy the 19th-century London equivalent of holiday football games. Instead, he vowed to play the long game. As family clears out for another year, can we make the same declaration? If not, have we missed the point of the whole thing?