Why January Is Actually Great
January isn't a popular month. Most of us start the new year hungover, crabby, flabby after Christmas and financially bruised. There's the tax return to imminently wade through, no bank holidays in sight, nasty weather to endure and even that Christmas party footage to explain.
Nor does it get better: the third Monday of January is often cited as the most miserable day of the year. No wonder people talk - in grimacing, spirit-sapped tones - about the 'January blues'.
Some reputations are undeserved, though. Truth is, there are plenty of reasons to love the year's first month, from walks and log fires to late Christmas celebrations and new Turnbull & Asser offerings.
First off, for all the irksome 'New Year, New You' platitudes, there isn't a better time for self-improvement. Take the proverbial plunge and sign up to a dating website, say, or start learning a new language. Hit the gym, adopt a diet, quit the cigarettes or attempt Dry January. This is a time to tackle your problems; to take control of your life and feel better.
Wardrobe improvement is equally common. The infamous January sales are at their most prominent in clothing stores, with huge reductions available to those willing to painstaking trawl tightly packed rails.
The reason for these sales? To make space for new lines. Plenty of which will get their debut at London Collections: Men (8th-11th January), the capital's menswear-specific fashion week. Among all the British brands and emerging talent, T&A will be presenting their latest designs.
The catwalk's very finest suits may well reappear during awards season. With the Oscars approaching in mid-February, a series of glittering and influential movie galas take place in January. Both the Golden Globes (10th January) and the Screen Actors Guild Awards (30th January) are seen as likely indicators of success at the subsequent Academy Awards.
Back in the UK, cinema offerings peak in January, with Oscar contenders being released by the week. This year's favourites include Room (out on 15th January), The Revenant (also released 15th January), for which Leonardo DiCaprio is the Best Actor favourite, Spotlight and The Big Short (both out 22nd January). Don't rule out Quentin Tarantino's The Hateful Eight (8th January), either.
Russia's Christmas falls on 7th January, as does Noel in Greece, Ethiopia and Serbia. The holiday period typically lasts until 10th January in these lands, so visit before then to prolong your Yuletide.
Okay, okay, but it's almost a year until Christmas, right? Not in parts of the world where the old Julian calendar is still followed. Russia's Christmas falls on 7th January, as does Noel in Greece, Ethiopia and Serbia. The holiday period typically lasts until 10th January in these lands, so visit before then to prolong your Yuletide.
As for the weather, yes, sure, it will mostly be cold, wet and windy. But you might also see some pretty snow or early displays of snowdrops. How about a winter walk, wrapped up in a coat and snuggly scarf, and stopping halfway for roast dinner beside a country pub's cosy log fire? Suddenly, January won't feel so bad after all…