Jan 1923 cover of Fruit, Garden, and Home Magazine snowy scene painted by Harry David


(Image credit: Harry David)

January arrives bringing mixed emotions. Excitement for the idea of a fresh start in the new year ahead. A let-down feeling following all the hullabaloo that is December. Or perhaps a sense of relief that all the sales and exclamation points and stress of family visits are over, and kids are going back to school.

For me, though I love Christmas, I also love the quiet that follows in January. December is colorful and loud. Let January be snow-white and still.

My family said that our Christmas day last week was the best one ever. On the 26th, it occurred to me that at least for me, the reason Christmas day was so amazing was because of the quiet. All businesses were closed. We couldn’t go out and “do” even if we wanted to. We were forced to stay in, and just be. I had followed my own advice and had set aside some books and magazines to read, and I did that on Christmas day, and it was just as relaxing as I had imagined. But on the 26th, the traffic started up again and it was back to work again. A more subdued workday, but it was still clear from my phone and email and the noise that stock was being traded as usual that day.

When I look back at old January publications, like the one shown above, I’m struck by the common sentiment among journalists that January is for planning, simply because there is nothing else to do. It is too cold to work outside and all one’s workspace is covered in snow anyway. And we get the sense that this is a relief, it is a relief to the working family to be given this snowy freezing natural excuse from the day job. Nearly 100 years later I secretly look forward to snow days for the same reason. Snow is not in my local forecast anytime soon, but I like to pretend that it will be. At least I can truthfully say it is too wet and moldy to go out for very long. Though slime and mold do not have the same novelty as snow…

Do you do New Years Resolutions? A word of the year? Intentions? Lists of things to STOP doing?

I know that resolutions do not last. I know that the turning of the calendar page is human-made and that every day is the first of a new year. Still, I LOVE NEW YEARS RESOLUTIONS. Last year my family set a list of ‘intentions’ together – we narrowed it to 19 so we could “19 for 2019”. We wrote them down and pinned them up in our kitchen and checked them off as we went. There were things to do and places to travel. We finished 15 of them and we are really happy with that! Writing them down and pinning them to the wall was key. I’m sure that if we had just talked about them or even written them in a notebook that we would not have remembered what they were. We probably would have done them anyway. But we wouldn’t have had this lovely evidence of our accomplishments.

We are already brainstorming our “20 for 2020”. My younger daughter is very insistent that we must have our list completed by December 31st. She believes it’s somehow improper to be editing the list in 2020. Since there are 4 of us in the family, we may end up narrowing the list so that each person contributes 5 goals. I’m not sure yet. But there are school and business goals, family goals, more places to go, things to grow, things to eat, movies to watch, books to read, things to try wearing, musical goals to reach. Some of the goals are necessary boring things that will feel really good when they are done (actually read and understand our homeowner’s insurance policy). But most of the goals are fun things that we are all looking forward to. Having a list like this helps my family understand that every day there is something to anticipate.

If these types of resolutions don’t appeal to you, there’s also a literary 20 for 2020 challenge floating around the internet, with 20 different genres of books to attempt. Or there is the goal of walking for 20 minutes a day in 2020.

There’s lists of things to stop doing. “Stop dying my hair” is a common one. What do you look forward to NOT doing in 2020?

Don’t feel like you need to be like my daughter and have this all resolved before January 1. Let this roll around in your head all month, and have fun with the ideas.

Now, onto the prep list for this week’s prompts – save any Christmas cards you received for some crafts for Saturday. Otherwise, just relax and have fun with this week’s New Year themed prompts. Have a great week!

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