It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas (well an Australian one anyways) whether I like it or not. Even WordPress has got in on the act with ‘faux’ snowflakes wafting across its generic templates. I’m sorry, but when it’s only the 5th of December I refuse to jump on the Xmas-fest bandwagon just yet.
For a start it’s 36 degrees here at the moment, faux snow just doesn’t cut it when you’re dehydrated, sun burnt hot and cranky. And no, before you suggest it, I am not dreaming of a white Christmas; I had enough of slushy, icy, rainy and gloomy ‘festive’ seasons over 35 years in the North of England to get that particular Hollywood-tinted notion out of my head for good.
Australians are pretty good at staving off Christmas until we are at least into the last weeks of November and even then it is peripheral ephemera and not shoved in your face mince pie and cream from September onward. Still, it’s there if you look for it:
This year’s Xmas ‘work-do’ was on the Gold Coast, scene of pools, sand, beaches and sparkliness all year round. It’s chilled and laid back holiday season here and therefore I can indulge in my annual scrooginess and resist writing Xmas cards until the very last moment, or at least until the air con hits a more comfortable 24 degrees. If they’re late, and invariably they will be to the overseas Pommie crowd, I’ll just blame the Royal Mail at the other end, like I do every year.
When asked for the twentieth time, “so, have you finished your Christmas shopping yet?” I like to equally astound and terrify folks by telling them “no, I haven’t even started it”, right up until Xmas Eve. Try it, it’s a hoot. Other people will go into panic mode by proxy on your behalf and therefore that’s one more CSE (Christmas Stress Effect) that you don’t have to personally worry about.
As I’ve always told my kids, if all else fails (in the unlikely event that the shops will shut a week before Xmas) “Make it or Bake it” – or even “re-gift it”. I dare you. Hey, you could even fall back on “just be thankful that we’re all happy, healthy and here to share it together”; not enough? Not the most expensive, shiny, or latest techno hand held device that you’ve been craving for? Well more fool you, because what you could genuinely least live without is usually right in front of you already….and it’s priceless.
So, on the first weekend of December, me and my feet spent some lovely uninterrupted hours at the beach whilst everyone else slogged it around the shopping malls getting themselves in a tizzy because they couldn’t find matching aqua napkins to go with this year’s themed table center piece and therefore “Christmas was already ruined”.
As for decorating the tree, well that is a particular source of personal rancour. Traditionally they went up on Xmas Eve and came down again on twelfth night. Social pressure won’t allow for Xmas Eve erection anymore (stop that sniggering at the back) so instead I hold out for our own tradition of the Sunday nearest my husband’s birthday (7th December), so this year will be the 9th, and conveniently my daughter’s birthday is 7th of January so the tree and all the palaver that goes with it comes down the day before at the latest (12th night after Christmas Day if you believe in what Wikipedia terms the ‘erroneous’ medieval assumption that its the 6th, otherwise it’s the 5th…..suffice to say they should not still be up by the 7th – confused? well take them down on New Years Day and start 2013 as you mean to go on, tinsel-free).
I don’t want you to think that I’m a totally cynical kill joy or begrudging of all those who invest a year’s worth of happiness into the outcome of one, teeny, tiny day, so for your Christmassy entertainment and delight we’ve at least made some effort and decorated our Grandson instead to herald the ‘season of goodwill’.