Oh wow. Are we glad we've given up on the mindless annual Christmas - thing. The months of worrying about where Christmas day celebrations will be this year and what to get so-and-so because tradition demands that we all scurry around like little lemmings with buying fever, maxing our credit in order to give out a bunch of doodads, most of which are unappreciated anyway. And if you visit the malls today, 24 December, you will find hordes of people pushing and bumping into each other, starting to look a little glazed and panicky because they are still trying to finish their Christmas shopping.
If you are one of the enlightened, you will by now know that the true meaning of Christmas has absolutely nothing to do with Christ (put Christ back into Christmas - yeah right. He was never there in the first place). And it also has nothing to do with a big fat dude called Santa Claus, who hails from Lapland and lives in a cave or somesuch. He also supposedly travels very fast - about 125000 homes per second in order to deliver all those goodies to every home in just one night. He must have permanent indigestion, eating 125000 mince pies and drinking a little over 93000 litres of beer per second. No wonder he's fat. He doesn't bother with the carrots and milk. Those go to the reindeer and down the plughole respectively. It's a time-management necessity.
It should be called Chris-myth.
But I digress.
So there we are, blinded by tradition, (un)happily mixing up a fat red and white Laplander with a skinny non-existent Palestinian who was (not) born in the middle of northern hemisphere winter or anytime else for that matter, and giving all our cash (and everybody else's cash on credit), to a bunch of mega conglomerates which control the retail market. And then we are paying our banks back at 15% the whole of next year, in what we are told is a "low inflation environment". Are we all out of our minds? I suggest we are. Most of us, at least.
So we stagger home triumphantly with our parcels which now have to be wrapped - a task that gets finished around 2am Christmas day. And while we are doing that we are multi-tasking the food in the oven which is determined to burn to a cinder everytime we take our eyes off it. Or (And) we are on the phone trying to iron out all the last minute little glitches, like the fact that Reg refuses to attend Xmas dinner because Mary will be there, or that Kate doesn't want anyone in her personal space trying to help, and doesn't really want to do too much herself either. Or that Sheila is whining (again) about the food I am making. If she doesn't like it, I urge her to stay at home and not grace us with her presence. What's that you say? It is her home - she's the hostess. Shit - why did I volunteer to prepare anything for the occasion? What about the fact that I'm totally out of freezer space? You can't get a greasy piglet into the fridge, and Jack Sprat and his noisy brat will be bringing 15 cases of beer and 300kg of meat for the braai. Shit - must still get charcoal and firelighters NOW - shops are closing in 15 minutes. HELP!
See what I mean?
And we have an ache in the pit of our stomach, from hoping that George will like the present we bought him this year (for a change), in contrast to last year's present which probably ended up in the unwanted returns queue last Dec 27th. And everyone wants bigger and more expensive. Last year I bought Keith a learjet. Now he wants a friggin' landing strip to put it down on, and didn't like it very much anyway. You see, he actually wanted a VTOL Harrier jumpjet so he could park it on his back lawn and not pay airport landing fees (he's a mean b@$tard, you see). So my humble CD that I'm giving him, is unwelcome and will be treated with active dislike and disdain. And don't get it into your head that "homemade" means anything significant to the majority of people. They just want stuff. And it better be good, expensive working stuff too. Don't give them any of your cost-saving cheap-assed home made shit. It doesn't mean a damn to them.
I forgot to mention. Everyone who is getting up everyone else's nose at this time of the year, are actually normally related to each other. They're family. Yep - you can choose your friends, but you're stuck with your family. Especially at Christmas time - the time we feel that for the sake of tradition, we just HAVE to be together.
G and I have a different view. We'd like to get together with our family whenever they want to get together with us - for no other reason that we like to be together. And if anyone in our family don't like to be with us at any other time of the year, why should they feel compelled to force a smile and do it specifically during a season which has no meaning? And when we see something we feel we'd like to give to someone in the family, we'll buy it and give it at that time. And they can too. Or not.
Christmas is indeed a special time for Children - may they continue to enjoy it, and be excited by all the fun and furore around the season of giving. And when they become adults, may they understand that because it is a season for the children, they should put away childish things and not continue to contribute to the blatant profiteering of commerce under the guise of romanticised fallacious tradition.
What are we doing tomorrow? Why, getting out of bed as normal. Around 11am I will have to get our bi-weekly irrigation water (it's the last water we'll get this season) and sometime around lunch, we'll probably fix a light salad and then watch a DVD, with some choccy for pudding, surrounded by our beloved furry and faithful companions. And sleep, like we usually do in the afternoon when we're on leave.
Are we jostling with neighbours or trying to keep a stiff upper lip in the family political party, hoping that everything we say will not be taken incorrectly, or gossiped about later? Bet your life we're not.
For us, Christmas time these days is as unstressed as most other days. And that's not going to change anytime soon.