Ranking the days between Christmas Eve and New Year's Day from worst to best
And so this is Christmas.
As you get older, Christmas becomes less about presents (and even less about the birth of Jesus) and more about the time off. Time spent with loved ones, loved foods and loved boxsets.
But the simple truth remains that not all Christmas days are created equal. Some days transport us to a state of yuletide zen that others cannot. Some are even more stressful than your average day.
Here's what you can expect from the coming festive season, with each individual day ranked from the worst to the best, starting with...
New Year's Day
Unlike the other days on this list, New Year's Day is actively bad. It is not just the least good day of the Christmas holiday period. It is an actively garbage day, and if any of us had a tap of common sense we would hibernate straight through it.
What kind of sick condition possesses us to make "resolutions" about how to better ourselves to coincide with a day when we are not only inevitably hungover, but soon to return to the soul-crushing burden of work? It's no wonder we all end up breaking them so quickly.
A day of conflict. By this stage, enough time has passed since Christmas Day that we're starting to think about going back to work. Not a bad day, per sé, but at this stage there is nothing specific to celebrate, and thoughts of the real world have begun to invade and contaminate your inner North Pole.
Relaxation now comes with more effort, and you need to focus on keeping your Christmas spirit alive.
29 December does the job. There's nothing specific to celebrate anymore, but the tree is still a deep green, your responsibilities have yet to re-emerge and there's time to find a new appreciation for all the chocolates that you haven't eaten yet.
It's usually around this time of the break that people realise that Bounty bars aren't so bad after all. It is a time of understanding, and appreciation.
New Year's Eve
While New Year's Day is demonstrably bullshit, as per the reasons outlined above, New Year's Eve actually has something to it. A chance to see friends and drink champagne and possibly even kiss someone at midnight. You're still in the post-Christmas wave where you still believe you'll achieve your New Year's resolution, still getting a kick out of your new Christmas clothes and ready to sesh.
There's also the catharsis of leaving yet another year in the dust. Unfortunately, a new one is just about to start. But you don't have to worry about that until the ball drops.
You are adrift in a sea of Christmas. Empty, crinkly husks of Celebration wrappers lay strewn about your person as you recline in an undone dressing gown. You might have a pint, you might have a Baileys, you might have some wine. It doesn't matter. None of it matters. You are safe here in your Christmas chrysalis. You cannot be disturbed here. You bite clean into a Terry's Chocolate Orange. You have defeated yet another year.
Christmas Eve is a strong contender. While not a holiday in its own right, it comfortably puts other pretenders such as Easter Sunday to shame.
It lacks the stupor of the latter Christmas days, but you're also spared the anxiety of Christmas' final moments. Christmas is yet to come.
Anticipation is the name of the game, whether you're waiting to get out of work to enjoy some Christmassy pints or waiting to get to bed early so Santa will visit sooner. Things are only looking up immediately after Christmas Eve, which is a rather blissful position in which to find oneself.
The crest of the Christmas haze. You are gorged on Quality Street and mulled wine and leftover turkey sandwiches. You've watched The Muppet Christmas Carol and Elf at least once each.
It is at this point that you realise that you've got no idea what day of the week it is, and, better yet, that you have no cause to find out.
Time briefly pauses and Christmas consumes all.
The focal point of each year. Partially about family, but mostly about presents. The stakes are high, and any cock-ups with regard to dinner, presents or the behaviour of your loved ones can easily knock this day off-kilter.
But if all goes to plan, you're coming away with a renewed sense of how much you enjoy your family, how nice it is to not be in work, how tasty turkey and ham and stuffing are, and board game success.
The mother of all days. The presents are unwrapped. The family obligations are fulfilled. The rest of the world is awake once more. You can avail yourself of Christmas sales, you can go and childishly call for your friends who are also off work, you can revel in whatever Christmas movie is on TV.
Dear Lord, if I should die, don't let it be before Stephen's Day.
Christmas remains, but all of your responsibilities have ebbed away. The world is your oyster. Unless you have kids or something. Then you probably have to get up early and listen to them loudly play with their toys. Enjoy!