January Haters Club
Screaming “I HATE JANUARY” out loud for the zillionth time this week, it occurred to me that I’m probably not alone.
Following closely on the cries of “Happy New Year” is one ugly slog of a month. You ought to take down the holiday decorations….but there is nothing fun to replace them with. Your pants might not fit the way they did before the holidays, and the world seems hellbent on reminding you of that. Then there is the weather….
January is the most awful month during normal times, never mind in this Omicron era. It’s a harsh transition from the gaiety of the holiday season, and this year I can’t even hit the after Christmas sales in person due to a janky immune system and a rampaging varient.
Many people choose to start the new year by denying themselves. Some are on pointless January diets and are consequently awfully grumpy. Others are doing “Dry January” where they attempt not to drink for the first month of the year, and they are also grumpalumps. Do not go down this awful path of denying yourself. You’ll just make yourself more miserable than need be during this awful month. You can be plenty miserable in January without doing either of these things. Pick another more tolerable and less awful month to deprive yourself of all possible pleasures.
It’s time to come out of my January haters closet, partly because it’s hella crowded in here. Last time I checked the the following tweet had nearly a quarter-of-a-million likes. That’s a lot likes for something so disliked:
Maybe it’s time we form an official “January Haters” club, with an official club motto? Perhaps something subtle and understated like “Fuck January.”
How can we improve January? Leave up the holiday decorations as long as you like, or until your HOA starts nattering on about “community standards” and “fines.”
I love having a living Christmas tree in the house, and it tends to stay in the house so long as it stays fresh and green. Take off the Christmas bits, leave on the lights and hang some hearts on the branches, and, Voilà, you’ve got a Valentine’s Day tree! I once kept one going until March. We only took it down because we needed the space for a lanky friend visiting for spring break.
To improve this most awful of months, you should avoid the gym, even if you usually go a few times a week. This time of year it’s full of people who don’t know how to use the machines. That new-to-the-gym riffraff will have cleared out by the time the Valentine’s candy is on sale.
In January, do what makes you happy. Live in the moment and don’t think about the future! Buy perfume and expensive handbags if that won’t interfere with paying your rent. Dye your hair a holographic sea-witch green. Live on pizza. Stockpile eggnog and drink it through Epiphany or Fat Tuesday or the Ides of March. Refuse to dust. Eat icing out of the can if that’s your vice of choice. Return that elaborate planner you know you’ll never use and spend that money on gin. Adopt another cat.
Most importantly, switch any expected joyful feelings you feel culturally obligated to have about the start of the new year to the arrival of the Lunar New Year. This year we welcome the Year of the Tiger with a festive-ish gurrrrrrrrr on February 1st.
That way you can avoid launching the strained chorus of “Let’s start the new year right” until loooooong after Christmas.
We could also put more emphasis on Carnival season, the lead up to Fat Tuesday, aka Marti Gras. Having King cake daily between Epiphany and Fat Tuesday should be legally required everywhere, not just within the Greater City Limits of the Artistic Parish of New Orleans. *
You might even decorate for Carnival! You could also change out the Christmas decorations on the tree for Carnival decorations! Maybe this is your chance to repurpose those beads you went to such effort to get thrown at you at a dimly remembered Marti Gras parade? Remember what you did for those beads? Display your hard-won/ill-gotten treasures by turning them into a garland for the tree! Under that tree would be a great place for the gin bottles you acquired when you returned that planner.
Whatever your choices are for how to get through this awful month, let’s move away from the “New Year/ New You” nonsense, pronto.
*This King Cake statute was passed by the combined office of the Nighty-Nite Mayor and/or three dudes with Absinthe on their breath trying to find their way home from the French Quarter in time for family breakfast. It may or may not be legally binding, depending on if it’s really is 5 o’clock somewhere and the position of the moon. It is especially binding when Mercury is in Retrograde and/or you have jury duty, whichever comes first.