I’m trying so hard not to overthink Christmas and just enjoy the tradition and cheer. But it’s like when I’m listening to rain on an iron roof and trying my best to enjoy it because everyone bangs on about how lovely rain on the roof is when really I’m worrying for all the people who don’t have a roof, and the cows and horses and sheep all out in the rain. I know I sound like a bleeding heart but I can’t help but think – as I sit here with a growing pile of presents and a dresser full of cards – that there are so many lonely people out there whose loneliness is amplified by the gaudy rush of Christmas.
Like a red rash it spreads throughout our lives until there’s no escape and even scrooges like me are taken in and resigned to decorating and shopping for the sake of tradition and the children and not being a complete boring party pooper.
But my heart’s not in it. I’m too appalled by the excess.
There are things about it I like. The pudding. The baking. The lillies. The general holiday feel. The children’s excitement. And I love a good carol (Santa Baby is NOT a good carol). But every year it gets a little gaudier, more intrusive, earlier and more expensive.
Remember when there was one Father Christmas in town and we’d see him maybe once for a photo? Now there are Father Christmases bloody everywhere – today in Hobart town we saw three. I have to tell my suspicious children that they are just helpers, not the real Father Christmas. The Father Christmas photo is apparently an annual event, much to the distress of most small children if the photos are anything to go by.
Remember when we used to get excited by the prospect of a little christmassy picture every morning in the advent calendar? Now anything less than chocolate behind those little doors is unacceptable. You can’t seem you get the picture ones anymore. No one wants them so I guess they’re out of production.
Remember when it was just turkey and ham and spuds and peas or a bit of pudding? When brandy butter was an extra treat? Now it’s all about seafood feasts and three choices of desert and outdoing everyone by roasting a duck inside a chicken inside a turkey. TURDucken. If you want quail too then shove it up the duck’s butt and add -ail to make turduckenail. Bugger it, why not squeeze a sparrow into the quail and make it turduckenailarrow.
Remember when you got a paper hat and a joke in the cracker? These days the kids will revolt if there’s no pencil sharpener or key ring.
Remember when a bit of tinsel and a few fairy lights did the trick. Now it’s either light up the street or ditch all tackiness to be the most tasteful Christmas decorator instagram has ever seen (no mean feat – where there is Christmas there is rarely taste, particularly when Children and hand made gifts are involved).
Anyway, I’m going to stop the bah humbugging because I do it every year and I know you get the picture.
But hold your family tight because they – not food or presents or baubles – are Christmas.
And if you don’t have family, I am thinking of you and I wish you well. (And I remind you that it’s just another day and it’ll be over soon. And know that many would be jealous of you not having to socialise with anyone you have nothing but genes in common with. On boxing day we’ll be feeling fat and broke and knackered while you can go for a walk and watch the cricket with your cat.)
It’s very nearly Christmas Eve. In the morning I am going to put carols on and bake gingerbread with my children, in an effort to summon as much Christmas spirit as I can muster (perhaps with the help of some other spirits). And I’ll try to get my youngest off the naughty list – it’s not looking good, today she bit her brother and declared she “DOESN’T CARE ABOUT CATHER FISTMAS ANYWAAAAAAAAAY” – I fear my bad attitude is rubbing off. Has anyone actually followed through with the Father Christmas won’t come threat?
But mostly, I want to say, from all of us here at Megoracle (well ok, there’s only me) I wish you a wonderful, happy, safe Christmas. May all your wishes come true (unless you’ve wished for a jet ski or a rifle). Here are my children to sing it in for you, as harmonious as ever.