Finding Joy In January

Back a while, I brazenly announced that November was the worst month of the year. Now everyone is thinking that January might be in the running.

The days are dark, cold, windy, and short. The streets and paths where we walk are sometimes icy, and nobody wants to start 2021 with a broken hip. And there will be days of minus 20 where even thermal underwear won’t keep us warm enough, so sometimes we’ll be forced to stay inside.

There is an emotional let-down after the high of Christmas. Even though we didn’t spend time with our families, many of us put up decorations and lights which we now have to pack up and store away. And we need to figure out what to do with those gorgeous red poinsettias which have no January relevance but extremely long lives. Left unchecked they can last until Easter.

Then we have to deal with the gifts we received. Those size Medium pyjamas, which might have fit us before we ate all that Christmas baking, now have to be exchanged – online. And what to do with the gifts we don’t want? That tacky sweatshirt with the covid sayings, or the plastic palm tree intended to cheer us up? We can’t even go to a Salvation Army store to drop them off.

But surely we can find some good things about January?

Despite the cold and dark, the days Are getting longer. Do you know that today is exactly one minute longer than yesterday? Yesterday the sun set at 4:55 and today it sets at 4:56. We can’t waste that extra minute feeling sad.

While we are putting away the holiday decorations we have the perfect opportunity to clean out cupboards, tidy up the basement, maybe even sort out filing cabinet drawers. We can set up the unwanted palm tree in a corner, order a load of sand, and have a beach party for two. Well OK maybe I am getting carried away…

When the weather allows, there are some interesting places to go on foot. If you live near the Junction, you can explore the Window Wonderland by walking along Dundas between Keele and Quebec Ave, enjoying the art work in the store windows. If you live near downtown, you can head over to Nathan Phillips Square, buy a hot chocolate, and watch the skaters. If you live near Lake Ontario you can visit after a windy day and see the gorgeous ice sculptures formed on bushes by waves splashing up near the shore.

January is a new beginning for online activity too. Unlike last spring when everything shut down, many lecture series, bridge clubs, and courses have been revamped to an online platform. And sports are once again on TV. Even though the audiences are pathetic cardboard figures with canned applause, the broadcasts still give us the chance to cheer on our favourite teams.

There is one big attribute of January for me: both of my children were born during this month, only (3 years and) 2 days apart. When they were little this was a problem. Because one was an older girl and the other a younger boy, they did not want to share a party. They felt that Fairy Princesses did not see eye to eye with Luke Skywalker. It meant 2 parties. Now that they are grown up they usually agree to share. So in a couple of weeks…wait for it… another party in the garage! Looks like I’ll be hanging up those plastic table cloths again.

And finally, January is a time for making New Year’s resolutions. This year, forget about the usual ones – losing 20 pounds and exercising every day. Instead, go for something more attainable, like remembering all the joy in our lives: good food, a warm home, friends and grandchildren to facetime with, and the possibility of a vaccine sometime soon.


One of the Junction windows
Skating at Nathan Phillips Square
Ice sculpture on the shores of Lake Ontario

5 thoughts on “Finding Joy In January

  1. You are so funny. What you write is so true. I am reminded of Erma Bombeck.
    And I love your pictures because they remind me of the rich possibilities of Toronto life (which in it’s day, I too enjoyed).


  2. I am always impressed at how you find so many things to look at and enjoy.
    Continue to enjoy the rest of January. This warm weather has been great for being outdoors.


  3. So glad to hear a positive note for the new year. Blessings is the most important thing to focus on. Celebration of your children’s birthdays will be a highlight for the month. Hope they bring their dogs for the celebration. You have gotten your share out of those plastic sheets. We also, or I should say, my Peter also follows the number of minutes that we gain in the new year. Did you know we now have over 9 hours of daylight. January is the beginning of a new year with much hope for the rest of the year around the world.


  4. Fun things to do, thanks and Susan I was born Feb. 9th and my brother the following year on Feb. 10th so my Mother only had one birthday party and I wondered why it was so successful. It was because I brought the girls and my brother brought the boys. Took me a while to figure this out naive as I was being the oldest. Stay safe and hi tomPeter


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