EMMA HOLLINGWORTH: Beating the ‘back to normal’ blues

Allan Knights from Barton takes his Christmas Tree along to the Tree Recycling at Aston Park
Allan Knights from Barton takes his Christmas Tree along to the Tree Recycling at Aston Park
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This week is officially one of the worst weeks of the year, apparently.

Christmas seems like it has been over for ages, despite it only having been a fortnight ago.

The differences between two weeks before Christmas and two weeks afterwards are like chalk and cheese.

In the run-up to Christmas there is a certain kind of magic in the air.

The kids go crazy with their endless countdowns of how many sleeps they have to go before Santa comes down the chimney.

The tree looks all sparkly and fresh and the kitchen is stuffed to the brim with all sorts of treats.

The party season is in full swing and everyone seems to be walking around with wide grins all over their faces.

Move the clock forward a week or two and the magic seems to evaporate pretty quickly.

The trimmings somehow look gaudy and limp. The tree is droopy and forlorn looking as the last of the carefully-wrapped presents vanishes from under its branches, leaving a wake of pine needles.

That, coupled with the dreaded return to work and school, suddenly leaves a deflated feeling in the air.

Despite our best intentions to stick to the normal routine during holiday times, somehow our rules seemed to slip.

Despite having watched endless reruns of 
Supernanny and knowing the harsh reality of letting children stay up late, we found ourselves foolishly giving way to their demanding ways.

So bedtimes drifted and got later and later as the days wore on.

The plus side was this meant the children were up later – meaning a glorious lie-in for us, much to my friends’ jealousy.

This novelty tends to disappear the moment you give birth.

For the last few days I have been telling myself I will be insisting they go to bed early and get up at a reasonable time to get them back into the routine.

But sadly, the day before they went back to school we were all still lounging around the house in our pyjamas at midday, having only just finished eating breakfast.

So come the first day back there was a lot of crying and upset people as a result of our lax ways 
being rudely given the heave-ho.

And now we all have bags under our eyes and don’t look rested at all.

The tree has been packed away and the cards have come down, leaving the walls bare and uninviting.

The children now ask how long it is until Santa visits again and look shocked when I say not for another 350 days. In their world that is a lifetime away.

January is an odd month because they don’t really have any celebrations to look forward to.

The days still start off dark and end the same way and it is endlessly cold and damp.

To combat this I have been looking into things I can do to perk them up.

Sheffield City Council is running a fringe festival called LearnFest alongside hosting the prestigious North East Education Conference next week.

It features exciting workshops and activities for children – ranging from lively zumbatomic sessions to circus skills and a chance to learn wood carving and DJ skills.

The talks and workshops take place over four days, January 16 to 19, mainly in the city centre and are free of charge.

For more information visit: www.sheffield.gov.uk/learnfest.