By Joanna Bastian

Finally, it is January. December feels like an endless onslaught of horrors, temptations and sensory overload. January is a breath of fresh air, a symbolic new chapter in life. Out with the old, in with the new.
January spells the finish line of December’s endless gauntlet of calorie and cholesterol-laden foods such as butter cookies slathered with butter cream frosting and sprinkled with candies infused with red dye No. 3. Right next to those “big bun” cookies is a cheese and meat platter with 50 different types of cheese and processed meats artfully splayed around a giant smoked salmon cheese ball. Next to that platter of “heart disease and diabetes” is an over-laden basket of buttery crisp crackers. Even the Yule log is filled with cream cheese.
Meanwhile, in the background, endless holiday music taunts us with the assurance that somewhere else in the world, other than our little valley, in that lane the snow is glistening. The cruel carols speak of gliding through the snow, building snowmen, and dancing in a winter wonderland whilst we have none of the névé. There is not even enough snow to make a snow angel, let alone a snowman. All the while, the cheery songs are accompanied by the incessant jangling of jingle bells.
The beginning of December is like a fresh-cut Christmas tree propped up in the living room, wrapped in lights and sentimental ornaments that the kids made out of clothespins and pipe cleaners. The succulent fir tree fills the home with nostalgia of holidays past and the clean fragrance of pine sap. At night it glows cheerily with twinkling lights and fills the home with a warm glow.
At the end of December, that dried brittle tree is no longer a figurative warm glow; it is a fireball waiting to happen in the middle of the living room. Not to mention a complete mess of dropped needles that refuse to submit to the powerful suction of the vacuum cleaner. Goodbye December, hello January.
January has no holidays to stress over. In fact, according to the website, which has dubious origins and cannot be trusted as a bona fide news source, January has a whole lot of holidays that sound blissfully relaxing.
Unfortunately, Jan. 3, Festival of Sleep Day, has already passed. But today, Jan. 8, is Bubble Bath day, and if you picked up the paper today, there is still time to celebrate with a soak and a bottle of Mr. Bubble.
Jan. 10 is both Houseplant Appreciation day and Peculiar People day. People who talk to houseplants could celebrate both occasions simultaneously.
Jan. 16 is National Nothing Day, created in 1973 by newspaperman Harold Pullman Coffin. This day is a veritable existentialist puzzle, as you have to do something in order to celebrate doing nothing.
January is also known as Hot Tea month. So embrace January with a pot of herbal tea, a bubble bath, and a few houseplants and sit back, relax and ponder the art of doing nothing.