Few things are more pleasant in life than the week between Christmas and New Year’s Day, when Christian societies have worked out a socially acceptable downtime. The two holidays come together close enough that work for many people is effectively suspended. Grandparents can spend some time with grandchildren. Parents can slack off a bit.
People sit around doing not much, playing board games, being idle. It is contrary to normal behavior in a work-oriented society. That is the first of the contrasts that make this time of year so pleasant.
These pleasures are doubly augmented by being in one’s country house in a snow storm, with plentiful wine, food, books still to read, and an Internet connection.



Watching a snow storm from the comfort of a warm room is an exercise in pleasure. There’s nothing to do but build a fire and read, or listen to large music.
The cat sleeps endlessly in the sofa, the machines that keep us warm are running, and the only activity besides the ticking of the clock is the constant snowfall. Time for a beer.