HERE we go again!
The festive season has arrived! We are going to have a great time! Goodwill and peace to everyone.
Once we’ve established the ground rules, that is.
My eldest daughter wants to share a stocking with her partner because she doesn’t approve of the wanton indulgence of excess in the festive season (or any other season for that matter). And she’s going to yoga classes on Christmas morning. To meditate.
But not, one assumes, excessively.
My second daughter says this isn’t fair because she won’t get any help preparing Christmas dinner, and anyway, everyone is supposed to mill around in the jungle of discarded wrapping paper and broken toys, having Fun.
She says it’s a Family Affair.
My youngest daughter says she thinks we’re spending more than the gross national product of Ethiopia on our Christmas and that we’ve been hoodwinked by the morally bankrupt forces of commercialism. She is making all her gifts from recycled op-shop trousers and bamboo, which is an exotic weed anyway, so she’s also helping the environment.
My son says if he receives a document case created from sticks and a pair of old work trousers that probably belonged to an incontinent octogenarian, then he’s returning the laptop (which was his gift to my daughter) and getting his money back.
My wife says that if it’s like this already, and there are still two weeks to go, perhaps they’ll have killed each other by Christmas Day.
I say good.
That’s what I love about Christmas. It’s so… tense.
It would be sad if it wasn’t funny, but the strain of having to love everyone for a mere 24 hours is enough to make most of the country take to the bottle.
Or the carving knife.
I blame tradition.
When you hear someone say: “But we always…” that’s the time to visit the lavatory.
The world is divided into two personality types: those who think we should do things because we always do; and those who think we should do thinks differently for the same reason.
And the only time it ever matters is at Christmas. You can do yoga (or even line dancing if you have real personality problems) whenever you like for the rest of the year and no-one cares. But at Christmas “we always” do some other thing.
The one day of the year when the watchwords are tolerance, compassion, compromise and love we are busy setting the ground rules.
Yo ho oh!
But the bit I really love is how it actually works, despite everything!
It’s like the latest in microtechnology that enables you to cook a turkey in Townsville using a mobile phone in New York that’s made from bits of string, the toy from the cornflake packet and the cardboard cylinder from the toilet roll — against all the odds and in some fashion that smacks of witchcraft, it actually works.
Buggered if I know.
Best not to ask the question. Just bend with the wind, enjoy the ride when you pick up a wave, pour another port and say Merry Christmas whenever there’s a pause in the conversation.