Or what you can get away with.
There is no magic left for Thirteenth Night. No more suspension of disbelief. The only magic possible is that we create between and for ourselves. Of course that’s true every day but it’s easier at some times of the year than others. All the special food has gone. There might be a handful of your least favourite chocolates lurking in the bottom of the box somewhere. I still have have half a panettone.
The Christmas bonomie has gone. Any hangover you give yourself for the next few months is entirely your own fault. Again, that much is true anyway but at Christmastime we have a kind of communal excuse for excess which dissolves after Epiphany. There is nobody to share your hangover with, nobody who will sympathise because we’re back in our little boxes until the warm weather comes back and we can have some summer picnics with bottles of fizzy things. We’re supposed now to live lives of continence and restraint.
In the old days, the best bits of the pig would have been consumed in the Christmas feast so in order to survive for the rest of the winter we couldn’t have continued to eat and drink like there was a continual glut. We’re luckier now, most of us, so abstinence is a choice rather than a necessity.
It’s strange that even in our very secular times we still depend on religion and spirituality to give our year a rhythm and pace. Our next big holiday is Easter, after all. We haven’t found an alternative in popular culture in spite of secularism and the presence of other religions. And the good news is that I’ve seen Creme Eggs in Tesco.