Monthly Musing – December 2016 – Mind the gap

Here we are, in those few magical days between Christmas and New Year when the world stops, or at least slows down, and we can
metaphorically get off. At least, that’s how it used to be before technology ensured that we need never be cut off from
emails, social media, news reports or online shopping. I’m not saying that’s a bad thing – I’ve been very glad of the internet during my Christmas preparations, but I’ve also noticed that it’s been a bit of a double-edged sword.

Yes, we can get things done faster, we can email friends and family abroad to save on spiralling postage costs, buy presents in other countries so that they can be delivered locally and make all those last minute preparations to make our Christmas celebrations perfect literally at the last minute.

But what I’ve also noticed is that whilst in the pre-technology days everyone used to work their socks off to be ready for the Christmas shut down as offices would have skeleton staff, factories would close and many businesses would let their workers take holidays until the New Year, this practise hasn’t stopped despite the fact that we take fewer holidays and seem to have less time off than ever before. I’ve watched my husband and many other people work their socks off (me included – and I’ve been knitting the socks as well!) to have everything done for Christmas – but actually, would it really have mattered if we didn’t?  The emails haven’t stopped, the phone calls and texts are still continuing and to a large extent, life is going on as normal – except that at Christmas,normal isn’t good enough and everything has to be perfect. The technology that should be helping us is making us work harder than ever, and our desire to create a picture-book Christmas simply adds to the workload.

I’m not for one minute suggesting that we should ignore the demands of business because it’s a different world these days, but I do question whether we could let the demands of business go a little as we focus on what’s important at this time of year.
Right up to Christmas Eve, my husband was finding emails in his inbox asking if he could “just do this before Christmas” when he was going to be back in work again on a few short days later and presumably whatever it was wouldn’t spoil by waiting for what is essentially only a long weekend. Our need to get things finished – our perfectionism, if you like – refuses to let us stop and take a breath and at the end of what has been a demanding year of highs and lows for everybody, we need that more than ever.

I think it’s time to take the steering wheel again. Put that “out of office” notice on your emails. Turn off your mobile phone whilst you watch that movie you’ve had lined up for weeks. Get off the world for just a few minutes, because it doesn’t stop for long.  Mind the gap.

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12 Responses

  1. AnnieOBTextiles says:

    I agree Christine, it is good to take a break or pause for a while. I have just got back from a few days with my mother where there is no internet connection and I deliberately left my phone at the bottom of the bag. Time to relax, reminisce and enjoy simple things (and start some more socks!) I hope you are finding time for some knitting and relaxation.

  2. Leftycrafter says:

    You are spot on. Even for us who are retired. We find ourselves rushing around daily to make evrything perfect for one day and then rushing around again to clean it all up to get ready for a New Year. This year, hubby and I didn't do that and you know what? Christmas was still beautiful, it still happened and we still celebrated the true meaning of christmas with a smile on our face.

  3. Ozark Yankee says:

    Agreed. Well said.

  4. pandchintz says:

    Here, here!!

  5. DebbyMc says:

    Well said! I agree completely!

  6. Vicky says:

    Thanks for this, I needed to hear this today I think!

  7. Christina says:

    Ah yes, technology and productivity! I am afraid we didn't work our socks of to have a perfect Christmas, we never do. It is better not to aim for perfection and not fail 🙂 We are both lucky enough to find the University closed for the entire festive period but you are right, emails never stop, even during quiet times, there are more than we wish for. Our Uni has started a campaign for people not to deal with emails out of hours but of course that clashes with their expectations of being efficient and professional in dealing with everything…. I could rant forever. We had problems with our home broadband these past few days and the fly on the wall might have thought it is Armageddon judging by the dramatic behaviour of kids and my mum (!). I suggested to Richard to just turn the whole thing off and pretend it was broken completely as he spent ages trying to accommodate wifi signals for the various parties… that's why I love remote camping, no internet and no phone signal! Wishing you a very happy new year, when it comes. xx

  8. Lilly's Mom says:

    I agree with you totally! You couldn't have said it better. Today I was shopping in Laguna Beach and saw the holiday hours sign for a clothing store; they were open until 10:30PM on Christmas Eve and all day on Christmas day! It's so sad that our world can't stop for a day or two now and then. I hope you have a wonderful New Year! Hugs, Pat

  9. Angela says:

    I completely agree. 2017 is going to be all about balance. I'm even trying to plan in a little craft time each week just for me!
    Happy new year to you and your family. X

  10. linda says:

    I agree with you completely! Happy New Year! I hope that 2017 is a great one for you and your family. 🙂 xx

  11. Josephine says:

    December 2017? Now that's organization — to have a blog entry written a whole year in advance! Happy New Year to you all.

    • Winwick Mum says:

      Now that would be impressive, wouldn't it? Sadly, it's just a typo which isn't impressive or organised at all 🙂 xx

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