Once a year, Sirius rose in line with the rising sun. This "heliacal rising" of Sirius which occurred every year in the midst of the Nile's flood season became the beginning of the Egyptian year. It was marked by a festival, the five epagomenal days (days outside the months) celebrating in turn the birthday of Osiris, of his son, Horus, of his Satanic enemy, Set, of his sister and wife, Isis, and of Nephthys, the wife of Set. -- from "The Discovers" by Daniel J. Boorstin

The week between Christmas and New Year's stands in a curious way outside of time.

The old year is over and the new not yet begun.

A feeling of waiting hangs heavy in the air and the mistletoe drops its berries one by one as it waits to be taken down.

Some excuses for postponing life until Jan. 1:

For students, the pre-Christmas job is over, school yet to begin again.

For dieters, the last of the fruit cake and the stray peppermint cane sit in the way of good intentions.

The nights are so long and the days so short.

The 1984 diary is out of date. The 1985 diary not yet timely.

Christmas parties are over, New Year's Eve celebrations yet to come.

You can't begin to save until you pay the bills.

If it's broken, you can't get it fixed until after the New Year.

If it hasn't come, it won't until 1985.

Everything that happens has a leftover air, like turkey dressing.

You can't burn Christmas card envelopes until you write down all the addresses.

Give up on 1984 resolutions, wait to make 1985 vows.

No snow, not enough sun.

The Christmas tree is dry, the decorations dusty, but holly berries don't turn into goblins 'til midnight on New Year's.

Not enough time left to finish. Not yet time to begin.

Too late to say "Merry Christmas" -- too early to wish "Happy New Year."

Hold your breath. Take leave. Watch the late late show. Oversleep. Wake up in 1985.