The November/Christmas Contradiction

“What?? – A christmas card?”  ……that sinking feeling when you get the mail out of the box and there’s one with a golden star on the back.  It’s a card.  It’s November.  “What the Hell???  What is the matter with some people?” Then you see the massive wad of retail brochures shoved in your ‘newspaper’ slot.  Sheeeesh.   “Surprise them with a $6,999 hot tub”.  Oh sure!!Let me just go get my purse.
You go to the supermarket to get milk and eggs.  The girl is putting up tinsel.  Your first thought is that it’s pretty awful tinsel, and why can’t they spend $5 in their own store to go get some new stuff?  Then: “What the ….?  It’s November!!”
You arrive the next day, at the Mall, at a leisurely 10.15am.  Except you haven’t quite arrived because the queue into the carpark is 1750 metres long and bottlenecks outside Bunnings Warehouse where people can’t decide if they should escape this ludicrous carpark line, or brave the dizzying clockwise rotation of the carpark to get to the last spot on the roof.  “Far out, it’s not even December yet …sorry, sorry…” (getting honked because you’re not within millimetres of the car in front).
You DO brave the carpark – you are sworn at by a sixty-something year old lady (using the  term ‘lady’ loosely) for apparently taking her car spot, though you have been waiting there 7.5 seconds longer than she AND with your blinker on – and the first thing you see, going into the Department store is a forest of enormous red fencing wire christmas trees slung all over with gold and silver baubles.   Fencing wire.   Yuck. Really?  Looks like  a massive lobster trap.
What is that NOISE??”  …. It’s Demis Roussos’ The Little Drummer Boy  trills from the speakers overhead  in one store, while Bing Crosby croons from another about a White Christmas.  It’s 32 degrees celsius.  It’s not Christmas.  It is NEVER going to be white – not in Sydney anyway.  “What IS the matter with people????”

I don’t have a problem with Christmas.  At all.  I LOVE Christmas.  In fact, I’d say I’m a certified Christmas Nut – So is it just me? or is it actually a bit weird that you can’t SAY “Christmas” at preschool but there are 2 metre snowflakes, over decorated plastic trees and giant Ferrero Rocher dominating the ceilings of shops from the end of October???  What’s the freaking panic all about?  Thre’s no lack of shopping days until Christmas –  Shops are closed for only two days, Xmas and Boxing days.  So it’s not like we’re all going to starve or anything.  In fact, shops extend their hours sooooo long close to Christmas that we actually gain about 3 shopping days.
Nope.   You’re annoyed with the realisation that once again you haven’t thought of anything to buy Uncle Max and Aunty Vi, Granny and those teenage nephews, and there’s only 33 days to do it.  You PROMISED yourself you’d have it sorted early.  Your family still refuses to do a sensible and spartan Kris Kringle, and so you’re stuffed.  Think up a magnificently creative, ingenious (and hopefully inexpensive) gifts for seventeen family members who will probably re-gift your remarkable ideas to their neighbours.  The shop managers are simply trying to get you into the mood….into the right headspace – make suggestions even.  Who wouldn’t want a wonderful Ouija board?  Gold plated dice?…..a lava lamp? A Christmas-freaking- Jaccuzzi for goodnesses sake!!!!  The retailers aren’t fishing for your money! They’re TRYING TO HELP!!  Just like that idiot kid who keeps jamming two lots of shopping brochures into my letter box.  He’s just helping you get organised for the gift of giving.  The only thing you’re getting is a headache.  Calculating….it’ll probably take 42 minutes to get out of the carpark.

This Christmas, start a book.  One with real paper just for something different.   I’ve had one for many years now and they’re great fun to look back on….(when you bought the kids a blow up turtle for the pool that scared the daylights out of the youngest, and that damned whoopie cushion they played with in front of Grandma! – fun memories).  Or if you’re much more digital than me, make a OneNote page or a Christmas Note on your smart phone, blackberry or any of the other Note takers.  In my genuine paper book I keep a double spread for each year.  One page is for presents – ideas/purchases –  I even have a spot for the Santa Stocking gifts for each kid.   The other is for cards/emails (who you’re sending to, and if you’re really anal – who sent one back, that’ll teach them!!), menus, decorations, or other Christmassy needs.  Of course I head it up with the year.  Mine goes back to 1992, the year I met my husband and was embarrassed when I took homemade shortbread to give his family, whom I’d only just met, and they bought me full on thoughtful gifts.  Doh!   It’s handy to look back on, some ideas can be recycled, others weren’t used and voila!  Instant idea bank…(when you have an idea during the year you MUST write it in! You’ll never remember it later)  Instant card list.  Instant budget – I always pop in the dollar value of the prez I bought.  I like to keep things kind of even with my kids. When you get those damn brochures, glance at them….you might find a bright idea – one of those great low beach chairs, an external hard drive, Lego on sale!  Yippee, that’s Them done!!   You can even take your ‘book’ shopping, and it’ll have more bright ideas than your husband, believe me.
As for the carpark queue …. suck it up or get there at 8.30am.   Bing? He’s dead. Give him a break.  (But stick to your guns, shoot a “Merry Christmas” at everyone you meet – even in preschool).

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