How-to: start the New Year off right

Published 2:11 pm Thursday, December 30, 2021

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The holidays are wrapping up, and the new year has finally arrived. It’s time to breathe a sigh of relief now that the hectic chaos of Christmas and New Year’s has passed. It’s time to return back to our usual routine.

Or whatever counts for “usual” in this pandemic.

As I was looking around for inspiration for this week’s column, I decided to check out what I’d written in previous years. It was a hodgepodge of different things, but the one to kick off 2019 was a silly little how-to guide for “getting back in the swing of things” after the holidays. This year, I thought it might be fun to revamp and update the old list.

For many of us, the past few weeks have had us scrambling to prepare for however we celebrate the holidays. That probably means cooking a whole lot of extra food, frantically cleaning up the house for visiting relatives, questioning the entire tradition of gift-giving while you struggle to wrap said gifts, and maybe even preparing for some headache-inducing travel. Even here at the newspaper, we’ve had to adjust to some special early deadlines because of the holiday schedule!

That’s a lot of extra things crammed into a short amount of time. It’s enough to make your head spin sometimes.

But now that January has arrived, it’s time to settle back into our usual routines, going back to work or school or whatever else we do on a day-to-day basis. That means setting our alarm clocks to wake up again, packing a lunch (or at least planning to dine out), and trading our comfy clothes for the ones we wear out in public.

So here are my suggestions for making sure we kick off the new year on the right foot as we get back to some semblance of normal:

Step one: Throw out last year’s calendar. That’s a good symbolic way to acknowledge that last year is in the rearview mirror now, and it’s time to look ahead to 2022. (It’s also a good practical way to reduce clutter. You don’t need that old calendar! Put it in the trash can!)

Step two: Clean out your fridge. By this point, it’s time to let go of the Christmas leftovers. If you haven’t eaten them by now, you’re not going to. Consider visiting some of our great local restaurants instead.

Step three: Make some New Year’s resolutions. Feel free to come up with a list of realistic goals (“eat more vegetables”) and unrealistic ones (“spend less money”). Nothing says you’re preparing for a new year like making a list of things you want to do.

Step four: Promptly forget about all those resolutions. Hey, it’s busy trying to get back in the swing of things, so no one’s going to blame you if those goals get lost in the shuffle.

Step five: Pull out your winter clothes. Maybe we’ll finally get some winter weather temperatures sometime in January. We certainly didn’t get them in December 2021, for sure! (Not that I’m complaining, because I prefer warmer weather, but at least one snow day would be nice.)

Step six: Go ahead and return those Christmas gifts that you didn’t like, especially if you have a gift receipt to make things easier. The longer you wait, the longer you have to accidentally misplace the receipt. And then you’re stuck with those shoes that don’t fit or those pants that don’t match anything else you own.

Step seven: Remember your neglected New Year’s resolutions and feel slightly guilty about them. But not guilty enough to actually try to fulfill them. (You can always get back to them around July or so.)

Step eight: Try to catch up on everything you’ve missed in the outside world during that hazy week between Christmas and New Year’s. Give up after a few minutes because there’s just too much going on in the world at all times. (Of course, if you want to keep up with what’s going on locally, check out this very newspaper!)

Step nine: Just ignore the constant feeling that you’re forgetting something! Once you get back into your regular routine, whatever it is probably won’t matter anyway. Hopefully.

Step ten: Start grumbling about having to work again (even if you love your job) and start wishing for the next holiday. That’s how you’ll truly know that you’ve settled back into your regular routine. We have the whole year to look forward to Christmas once again.

So there you have it! I hope these simple steps will be helpful as we start yet another year. We have no idea what 2022 has in store for us yet, but all we can do is get back to the old grind to wait and see.

Happy New Year!

Holly Taylor is a Staff Writer for Roanoke-Chowan Publications. Contact her at or 252-332-7206.