Summoning motivation during the long dark days of winter is a challenge | Verity Lush

Given that Pagans hold a midwinter celebration to bring light into their homes during the darkest nights of the year, it is almost a pity there isn’t another one before the end of March dawns.

A host of golden daffodils.
A host of golden daffodils.

The period after Christmas, that chill and gloom of January and February, is a tough old slog to heave yourself through sometimes.

The will to keep plodding on is trickier to summon once the sparkly lights outside homes are down, replaced only by damp and grey.

We have various family birthdays in the months following Christmas but even those aren’t enough to fully alleviate the slog towards lighter days. May our March come swiftly and the daffs pop up with haste.

The innocence of childhood is something to be treasured

There is nothing quite so heart-tugging for parents as watching their child’s nativity or Christmas performance.

Bless their little cottons in their homemade – or, if we’re honest, supermarket-bought – costumes.

This year, I watched my daughter’s final Christmas performance before she sails off to the land of Big School next year.

She had been practicing her reading studiously and, sure enough, when I saw her walk into the hall for the final festive offering of her formative years, my eyes did indeed well-up.

It is impossible not to be stung with emotion.

Unfortunately, due to the somewhat perplexing decision to place a group of tiny children in the back row behind a group of substantially taller children, this was the only sighting of my daughter that I managed to get.

Admittedly, I did occasionally spot the rim of her glasses, and every so often the child who was in front of her – and approximately one foot taller then her – did fidget microscopically into a different direction, for but a millisecond, exposing a couple of tufts of my child’s hair.

Had I been sat closer I would still have seen zilch due to the fact that at least six of the children in front of the row of wee ones were all quite literally heads and shoulders above those in which my daughter was a part.

Luckily this didn’t muffle her reading, thanks to the trusty school microphone, so I did get to experience that, even if I couldn’t see an atom of her being.

Indeed, some parents must have wondered where the sound was coming from when the back row had their chance, given that barely one of them could be spotted by the human eye.

However, none of this detracts from the experience, does it? Because there they all are, bless them, singing without shame in public – that’ll soon change come Year 7 – and performing their actions with gusto.

That pure innocence of childhood, which I know won’t last much longer, is such a little gem to cosset, pocket, and treasure.

Even if she was hidden from all and sundry.

Stuff your faces and try to be jolly, but go easy on yourself

A few days left now until Christmas.

The battle for parsnips looms, the desperation of the non-online-shopper to get past the squillion online-shopper trolleys, the dread of being the one customer whose turkey order has been misplaced.

All this hassle for one day. Crackers! And yet, that’s why it’s special, isn’t it? It is for one day only.

Yes, there’s a festive ‘season’, but it does spin upon the axis of the 25th of December, where we try to make the effort, try to be jolly, and try to stay awake after we’ve filled our faces.

I truly hope your Christmas is magical, and if you’re not feeling up to it for what might be a multitude of reasons, I hope that it goes easy on you.