The Gold Coast Bulletin - Gold Coast Eye - - EYE INFORMER - WORDS: MICHAEL JA­COB­SON

Ten days out from Christ­mas and it’s time to ac­ti­vate my Silly Sea­son Sched­ule. It’s a tried and true sys­tem and I’m sure reg­u­lar read­ers of this rec­tan­gle will draw in­spi­ra­tion from it.

The first task is to con­firm it ac­tu­ally is De­cem­ber 15. Once done, you can smile, gloat and go back to sleep lux­u­ri­at­ing in the knowl­edge that you can de­fer all thoughts of Christ­mas prepa­ra­tions for at least an­other day. Or two. To­mor­row, De­cem­ber 16, is al­ways the man­i­fes­ta­tion of “Or two”. That is to say, with nine days un­til C Day — or X Day for the hea­thens among you — you can be con­fi­dent and con­tent there’s still heaps of time and no pres­sure. How­ever, in my case De­cem­ber 16 is also my daugh­ter’s birth­day, an event that re­quires added vig­i­lance against the early de­ple­tion of funds sup­pos­edly set aside for Christ­mas. Come De­cem­ber 17, any com­fort taken from there still be­ing eight days be­fore the 25th is tem­pered by the re­al­ity of an­other failed at­tempt to pre­vent the afore­men­tioned bud­getary de­ple­tion via the afore­men­tioned daugh­ter raid­ing the afore­men­tioned Christ­mas cof­fers for her afore­men­tioned birth­day. De­cem­ber 18-20 is a pack­age that fea­tures some of the most im­por­tant facets of the Silly Sea­son Sched­ule.

It’s a time for cal­cu­lated re­con­nais­sance and re­search tar­get­ing firstly my son (“Hey, what do you want for Christ­mas?”), then my daugh­ter (“Hey, what do you want for Christ­mas?”) and fi­nally Mrs In­former (“Hey, what have you bought your­self for Christ­mas that is al­ready un­der the tree and pur­ports to have come from me with­out me need­ing to ask you what you want for Christ­mas?”).

De­cem­ber 21 is very im­por­tant. It’s when I re­mind the fam­ily that the strict $20 limit on Christ­mas gifts be­tween them­selves does not in any way per­tain to their gifts for me.

On De­cem­ber 22, In­former goes on­line to check that there will be mid­night shop­ping on De­cem­ber 23-24. This al­lows me to de­lude my­self into think­ing I now have the equiv­a­lent of two ex­tra days up my sleeve.

On De­cem­ber 23, hav­ing con­firmed mid­night trad­ing, I deter­mine to avoid com­pla­cency. One sec­ond af­ter said de­ter­mi­na­tion, com­pla­cency sets in. Ac­cord­ing to the sched­ule, this means it won’t be long be­fore com­pla­cency be­comes panic. Some peo­ple call De­cem­ber 24 Christ­mas Eve. In­former calls it Christ­mas Evil, al­though its hor­rors are to­tally self-in­flicted. I am re­minded of this as I head out of the house and into the mael­strom that is the De­cem­ber 24 shop­ping blitz.

Thou­sands of oth­ers — mostly blokes about my age, it must be said — are with me. We are a throng in thongs, all lost and livid as we en­ter the not even slightly merry Christ­mas World of Our Own Fault.

In this mys­te­ri­ous land are per­fume coun­ters, dress shops, nat­u­ral prod­uct re­tail­ers, florists, toy stores, elec­tronic out­lets and, good grief, the crowds, the noise, the end­less bloody carols and the poor ha­rassed counter staff who still have their Christ­mas hats and smiles on, but who want to kill all of us and Santa. You do, don’t you?

But all that is to come, for to­day is only the 15th and there’s 10 days un­til Christ­mas. The sched­ule never lies. Sea­son­ally speak­ing, it’d be silly to ig­nore it.


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