Once Upon a Christmas Break

When I was sixteen and poor, I got a job at my local bookshop. I was offered the position on the night of the launch of the final Harry Potter book, which was nice, and I stayed in that job until May this year – almost eight years later. In all of that time, I missed out on having Christmas Eve off, and having time off after Christmas.

But back in April, I started in a new job. (Yes, there’s some overlap there. Two weeks of two jobs, three assignments, thesis preparations, and voluntary video editing for charity. I was tired.) This new job – which I’ll be celebrating 8 months at tomorrow – closes its doors for the Christmas period tomorrow. It’s a wonderful coincidence of timing, and it means that for the first time since 2007, I’ll have a Christmas break.

I don’t know what normal people do with this time, but I’ll be writing a horror/fantasy novella and doing some artwork for book covers. As well as making videos. And reading. And meeting up with friends before they go back to teaching (because, after a four-year teaching degree, most of my friends are teachers.)

I have ten days off, several plans already made, and an infinite array of possibilities for ways I can spend my time. It’s wonderful.

And, because I’m no longer in retail, I get to enjoy the Christmas spirit a little bit more. For instance, I’m currently obsessed with this song:

On Christmas Eve, I’ll get to listen to it on repeat until I’m sick of it, if I want. I’ll also get to put up a Christmas video on my YouTube channel, and eat a box of chocolates one of my co-workers was so nice to get me this year. (I didn’t think to get anyone anything for Christmas, but I have treated them to cakes and whatnot every now and then, so I’m going to try not feel guilty about that.) I’m going to have hot chocolate, and play with my niece, and try to help my parents a bit more around the house while I have the time off.

We’ll also get to spend some time with the relatives, between having my grandad down for dinner (hopefully!) and a wee family gathering with alcohol and board games and more finger food than a small enough family can feasibly eat in one night (except that I’ve met my brothers…so there’ll be no leftovers.)

In short, my Christmas break is giving me a lot of opportunity to actually take a break and do some really fun things, before I get back into work full-time. But it’ll also give me a chance to make arrangements and habits towards getting more done in the new year. Sure, January isn’t a magical month that makes things happen all by themselves, but it is a perfect time of the year for transition in life.

So that’s what I’m looking to do. Make a change. Get back into working on my own stuff more in 2016. Spend more time with friends. Travel a little bit more. Experiment a bit. In short, live.

Somehow, I just need to survive having 10 days off work. However will I manage?

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About Paul Carroll

Paul Carroll is a writer, born, raised and still living in Dublin. By day he's a student and bookseller, by night he writes fiction and uses social media.
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