Thursday, November 28, 2013

Constructing Christmas

My name is Meg, and I'm a Christmasoholic. 

When the supermarket fills with tinny Christmas carols each November, I switch from being a (relatively) reasonable person to a tinsel waving loon, with one hand in the decoration box and the other firmly planted in the shortbread cookie tin. 

Like a broken carols record, I insist on mapping out all the Christmas light displays within a twenty kilometre radius and visiting them one by one in all to revel in their multi-coloured high wattage goodness.  

I love to send and receive Christmas cards the old fashioned way, with a pen and an envelope and a stamp and a little love, and have been known to lose afternoons days admiring the glittery holiday trim displays lined up in department stores. 

The Christmas tree is the pinnacle of my home-spun Christmas wonderland, holding court in the lounge room from the first day of December until the first day of the New Year (or perhaps the second, or even the third, depending on the severity of the Auld Lang Syne hangover). 

Sure, my tree is just a spiky plastic shrub wrapped in artificial materials and cheap lights, and it attracts debris and dust and will probably be bowled over by the dog at least twice before the season is out - but it's a special spiky shrub, and it makes me feel like a little magic might just happen. 

My husband does not share my level of enthusiasm for the silly season - while he is more than happy to down a Christmas beer and throw some king prawns on the barbecue, he is a strictly non-tinsel type of guy - the perfect naysaying yin to my obsessive decorative curling ribbon yang. 

He dislikes the triteness of the whole occasion, and the entrenched culture of commercial madness and giving gifts just for the sake of having something to wrap and unwrap on the big day - and really, if we're being honest here, who can blame him? 

The sight of a mile long queue at the end of a gift grabbing bonanza, and the effort of having to conjure up a fake smile of appreciation for your seventh box of chocolate covered macadamia koalas, well, it can deflate even the most buoyant seasonal balloon of happiness. 

It's not just the consumerist aspect that gets under my husbands humbug skin. He hates being dragged along to check out the Christmas window displays, and we have long since ascertained he has zero interest in trimming the tree or trying to form any sort of sentimental attachment to a bauble.
In fact, he is so uninterested in the whole tree trimming business that he usually just settles back on the couch with a beer and shrugs intermittently when I ask if the tree looks wonky or the decorations seem unbalanced.
Tree of disinterest
Last year, when I was heavily pregnant and trying to wrap a tangle of lights around the tree without bursting my waters or my leggings, he took his life in his hands by asking if we were really, actually, seriously, like REALLY, going to do the 'whole Christmassy Santa type thing' with our daughter.
Luckily for him, the lights were too tangled to use as a weapon and the baubles were unbreakable plastic so my only retort was to scowl and mutter angry insults. Sigh-bah-grinchy-humbug-sigh. 

With his aura of Noel nonchalance, it comes as no surprise that he is less than enthusiastic about entering the prime parental decade of nibbling carrots and making up stories about a jolly dude sweating around Australia in a climatically inappropriate red suit. 

To a point, I can understand his reluctance. It takes a lot of parental effort to perpetuate a myth the size of Santa, and even more energy and dedication to allen key a fifty-seven piece swing set together at midnight without making a sound. 

It can also be sheer hard work to deliver a sleigh load of cheer and sliced ham on a non-negotiable date year in year out, no matter the state of your personal credit card economy or how many end of year bevvies you've consumed. 

In the dim light of his unenthusiastic Christmas light bulb, though, I can see that he is conflicted - while he would like to wrap the whole season up and store it at the back of the wardrobe, he also wants to deliver a little bit of Christmas magic to our daughter.

Santa is a top bloke with an excellent team of elves and PR advisers, but he's still just a man with a sleigh and he needs a little parental help to spread the magic right across the world in 24 short hours. 

He needs our assistance to usher kids into shopping centre photography lines, oversee the writing of wish lists and to carry out the all-important tasks of gift wrapping and Christmas morning present placement.

I've been waiting impatiently
to help Santa deliver the magic to my own family since I was initiated into the land of the knowing aged nine and a quarter, when a series of forgotten price tags and a suspicious run in with the Easter Bunny in the laundry at midnight lit up the truth brighter than Rudolph's glowing nose.

I'm sure that when the pudding boils down to it my husband will be willing and waiting too, and when he's actually chewing on those carrots and making up those stories (and feigning excitement about them while stumbling about the lounge room at 5:20am trying to find AAA batteries and a pair of box cutters), he will find himself having the time of his life. 

Goodness only knows I will, complete with jingle bell earrings and a string of tinsel wrapped around my head like a sparkly turkey on a festive mission. 

My name is Meg, and I'm a Christmasoholic - are you? 

M x

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  1. Ahh lovely, I love Christmas, it is actually much more laid back here in Oz than in the UK, they start getting ready for it in the shops in October and then it is continually rammed down your throat every 30 seconds so by the time you get to Christmas you are already flippin fed up of it!
    I am quite organised this year as I am pregnant and due 19 December so had to get organised ahead of time.
    Speaking of, I need to go and wrap my pressies.

    1. I really need to get organised, I've been too distracted by all the shiny objects to get my act together and actually sort things out! Happy wrapping :)

  2. Christmas is a bit of a chore for me - and I'm just getting old and tired. But I go really hard at Halloween and I love that! It's the good things of Xmas without obligations or pressure...

    1. Christmas can get drowned with obligations, can't it? I love Halloween too, especially carving pumpkins, such good fun!