Pol­ly­ism of the week

Woman’s Day (NZ) - - Advice -

Christ­mas has jumped out at me like a blood­thirsty mad clown in a spooky haunted house. I got am­bushed by Kris Kringle and I’m very, very fright­ened.

I’m not sure if I’ve been dis­tracted by New Zealand’s hous­ing is­sues, the roy­als be­ing in town (I’m of­fi­cially in love with Harry and Megs) or just in de­nial, but walk­ing into de­part­ment stores and be­ing greeted by Nut­crack­ers and fairy lights has hit me like a run­away sleigh.

I’m not pre­pared. What’s the op­po­site of pre­pared? Un­pre­pared doesn’t seem ex­treme enough for any­thing like Christ­mas.

I won­der how it would go with the fam­ily if in­stead of presents this year, we did some­thing dif­fer­ent? By dif­fer­ent, I mean free. Would my kids be ter­ri­bly proud of my new­found anti-com­mer­cial ethics and think it aw­fully evo­lu­tion­ary of me to say we’ve moved on from gifts to writ­ing po­etry for each other? Hav­ing now traced our lin­eage back to a lauded English poet, it does seem plau­si­ble. Maybe?

If not po­etry, then what about we all make some­thing for each other? Def­i­nitely a dis­as­trous idea. It re­minds me of my friend Marc who was truly hor­ri­fied when his sis­ter gave him a painted rock. Might have washed if he was eight, but at 30, Marc was more than un­der­whelmed.

Why, oh, why does Christ­mas have to in­volve money? I so wish I’d been one of those moth­ers who made sen­si­ble rules early. You know them – par­ents who make ev­ery­one draw a name from a hat and then each fam­ily mem­ber gets one present and they all seem happy, con­tent and well-ad­justed. Or that we were the fam­ily who gifted a goat in lieu of buy­ing pressies for each other. How bril­liant if I had raised off­spring of­fended by the hol­i­day com­mer­cial­ism.

In­stead, I raised parcel­rip­ping lit­tle con­sumers. Spoilt, but per­fectly de­li­cious. It’s my fault – I was the mum who wanted my kids to get more than SolidGoldHits Vol­ume14 and bub­ble bath. How I wish their wish lists now said “a goat for Africa and some bub­ble bath”.

Here’s my plan: I leave town a week be­fore the big day. I leave a ham in the fridge, a bot­tle of bub­bly or two and a store-bought pavlova in the cup­board ready to be adorned with cream. I hang stock­ings on the man­tel, each con­tain­ing an or­ange and some nuts, and a game of Mo­nop­oly on the din­ing ta­ble. There’d be a big note say­ing sim­ply, “Merry Christ­mas! Have fun!”

I’ll dis­ap­pear for two weeks and by the time I get back, Christ­mas will be over and we’ll all laugh about how clever I was.

Let’s see what hap­pens, eh? My guess is I’ll go into crip­pling debt to buy an Xbox, a Deadly Ponies bag and a new iPhone. I can’t be­lieve I’m say­ing this, but bah hum­bug and roll on Box­ing Day!

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