Chocolate and cake are still in abundance. Twinkling lights still on the tree. Christmas cards are still falling from their allotted holder every time the door opens. We can't move on though. It is that strange vacuum between Christmas and New Year where things aren't quite celebratory and yet aren't yet quite back to normal.
For the ordinary people of the Dark Ages, twelfth night fell on 30 December and there was often another ritual slaughter to mark this. Although the aim was to appease the gods, thank them for that year's harvest and ask them to help the success of the next one, the sacrificial beasts also enabled the people to have food to see them through the winter. The main time to sacrifice ox, pigs and sheep was in November, Blot month, Blot meaning 'blood'. The blood was offered to the gods by means of feeding it to the ground while the carcass was cut up and salted.