Five ways to make Aussie Christmas better
The so-called “festive season” needs a new name.
Because as it stands right now with it’s smug connotations of happiness, relaxation and general mirth-it’s terrifically misleading.
Take for instance, this incident one night last week.
I was walking with a friend discussing our Christmas holiday plans when she told me about a conversation with her Texan sister-in-law.
Despite having lived in Australia for a number of years my friend’s sister in law said that she just didn’t understand Christmas in Australia.
She’d noticed a terrible irony in the fact that just as summer descends here and work and school begin to wind down- we’re all running around like headless chickens buying gifts, entertaining and generally stressing ourselves out.
Where by contrast at her home in Texas, Christmas falls in the winter months when aside from the fact you’re more inclined to cluster indoors and eat with abandon, the summer months are left to do nothing but enjoy the warm weather and relax.
And she’s right. With the general shopping, feeding and drinking mayhem, it’s a wonder we get to enjoy the summer here at all.
Or maybe it has nothing to do with summer.
In a recent piece for TimesOnline Carol Midgley argued that December is the worst time possible time of the year to be single.
She went on to say that a London radio station had put a call-out for loved up couples to “tone things down” out of respect for those people waking up alone this Christmas.
What a great idea. I completely agree.
So, inspired by the wisdom of my friend’s lovely Texan relative I think we all - single, married, de-facto or other - need to make some changes to our interaction at this time of year.
Here’s my top five suggestions. What are yours?
1. Shopping times should be staggered and segregated according to levels of enjoyment and hysteria. This would ensure that people who hate shopping and want to get it done quickly shop at a different time and therefore completely avoid the people who appear to linger in shopping malls till the very last second on Christmas Eve.
2. Cards, wrapping paper, sticky tape and batteries should be sold at the checkout of EVERY department store. There is nothing worse when you realise you’ve forgotten this JUST as you drive away from the shopping centre.
3. A universal China-style quota needs to be imposed on children’s presents. Ideally this means that every child is allowed one present per family member. Agonising over gifts for younger family members then watching them tear off the wrapping paper, throw it on the ground and announce “next” at the top of their lungs is among the most frustrating of all Christmas traditions.
4. We need to realise we DON’T actually need to catch up with every single friend “just before Christmas”. At this time of year the ‘casual’ social catch-up can be draining and a bit of an effort on-top of everything else we are doing. And dare I say it- chances are that if you’ve been too busy to catch up with the same friends for months beforehand- maybe you’re not actually good friends anymore.
5. All alcohol served in the festive season must come with a “no hangover till February 2010” guarantee.
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