For this Christmas post, I thought I should delve into the Christmas truths that we all encounter, and some we would rather forget about.
The Shops are going to be busy. This may seem like a no-brainer however some people seem to forget that the shops are going to be absolutely crazy. I know quite a few who love to leave Christmas shopping til the last-minute and then basically end up reenacting Arnie’s day in “Jingle All the Way”. Ho Ho Ho… I told ya so. Get in and get out quick people. Just because you manage to have a brief moment at the shops without people pressed up against you from all sides, shopping trolleys regularly connecting with your shins and feeling at once amongst the zombie parents, doesn’t mean the shopping craze is over. It has just begun.
On Christmas Day and no doubt in the days before and after, you are going to eat too much. Yes, you may be on a diet or have a special event right after the holidays so have been starving yourself. Face it now. You are going to fail to behave over those festive days. My advice, let up with the guilt trip – you will just end up feeling worse and no doubt having the “fuck it” thought and decide to polish off the turkey single-handedly. If you allow yourself to be a bit naughty however, without feeling like you have just done something absolutely unthinkable, you will be able to enjoy the day and hopefully won’t feel too ill afterwards from over consumption of delicious treats.
You are going to have to spend time with your family. Assuming you have family and live anywhere near them or are capable of travel, you are going to have to endure the fams. Yes, for some this may be one of the things about the holidays that is most looked forward to. I love spending time with a large portion of my family. I have family that I basically don’t see unless it’s Christmas (saving some family event like a wedding or funeral). However, no matter how much we all love our families, we all have at least one family member that we can do without. Whether it is the crazy aunt or uncle, the rellie who looks down their nose at everyone or the cousin that gets drunk, tries to perform the tune Rudolf the Red nose Reindeer with burps and passes out underneath the tree. We all have some in our lives that make the day that little bit more challenging. For me, the main challenge is just being around that many people. My family is loud. Think ‘My Big Fat Greek Wedding” loud and then substitute the Greeks for Aussies and you are pretty close to there.
You are going to receive some rather odd gifts. Gift giving is a hazardous exercise which should be entered into carefully. I know from personal experience that I will receive more than my fair share of elephant themed items. Although I have expressly asked for no more elephants to be in my life, once you mention your favourite animal you are going to find that at every occasion, more and more of them are stampeding into your life. Apart from these kinds of gifts, you are also going to receive a lot of personal hygiene products like scented bath soaps and lotions in oversized plastic containers. I don’t know why these products are so popular as gifts. I admit that I have been guilty of buying these myself in the past. However, they are usually for the person you rarely see, possibly don’t particularly like and couldn’t care less what they are actually interested in. When I receive this particular present, I like to think it is more from the person not knowing my interests and not because they think that I need a shower.
Which brings me to…
You are going to forget to buy a gift for at least one person / couple. Or, they are going to randomly surprise you with a gift that they have bought for you just so that you can feel awful for not having returned the favour. It is bad enough having people randomly rock up at your house, but when they also come baring gifts… it is unforgivable.
You are going to receive at least one tin of biscuits that has either been sitting in storage at the shops, or in the persons cupboard for at least a year. Do yourself a favour, open tin, discard the stale biscuits and reuse the tin to fill with treats or as an amusing way to disguise a gift. Try hiding your kids new phone or gadget in a biscuit tin and wait for the fireworks. Extra credit if you carefully place tape around the tin so that it looks like it was never opened and repackaged.
You will be force-fed food by various people who think that they are great chefs and bakers. If you are lucky, most of these people will be correct in their judgement. Be careful. You do not want to appear rude by not sampling the food. Perhaps practice making the yummy face and rubbing your tummy for when that person who always produces garbage waves that plate of food in your nose. Also a great time to teach any kids a safe word which will send them into crazed child mode and give you the opportunity to slip away to deal with the little angels (and carefully dispose of the food). I have found lying about food allergies is another helpful way of getting out of this situation.
You will be tired and cranky. Christmas is like a crazed, tinsel clad marathon. Do not treat it like a sprint. Yes, the day seems like it is over quickly once you are on the other side of it but everyone knows getting to the actual day is enough to drive you stark raving mad. Firstly, you have to finish work for the year and everyone knows that depending on jobs, it can seem like the holiday is hardly worth it due to the mountain of work you have to wade through before and after the break. You need to attend all the end of year concerts and child friendly events (this is one of the times I am happy to be an aunty and not a parent. I get to split my time up and I must say, I have had 3 different work Christmas functions depending on who is asking). Some people seem to enjoy living off the stress at this time of year. Those people who spend a month decorating the house, have a tightly planned schedule of baking, shopping and Christmas activities to fill all the hours of the day and then some. I take my hat off to these people. Ain’t nobody got time for that.
You will reach the stage (if you haven’t already), where you never want to hear another Christmas carol and you feel quite certain that the children carolling at the shops have a personal vendetta against you as they seem to follow you around personally. You will not be able to escape it. To add insult to injury, you will find that you start humming carols the second you let your guard down.
Some people will not be surrounded by family, friends, food or a safe place this holiday season. Reading the poem “Sleeping Rough” by Robert Hayes which I posted yesterday, reminded me that not everyone is as fortunate as I am. I know that a lot of businesses and churches will have different charity events organised. My office is taking part in Foodbank this year. However, charity doesn’t stop there. If you see someone doing it rough, see if you can spare some money. And if you can’t, at least treat the person like a human being.
Christmas can be a challenging time of year. We all have people that we miss or that we don’t get a chance to see based on where we/they live. For those that you can be with, make sure that you treasure the memories. Put down the phones for a few moments and enjoy ripping open the crackers. Make sure you don’t choke on the coins hidden in the Christmas pudding and above all, smile.