Just hear those sleigh bells ring-a-ling ting ting ting-a-ling LAH, It’s such lovely schmeh meh hngh mff mff hmmunuh SNOW

Currently reading: Fear of Flying by Erica Jong
Currently listening to: Morrissey
Current bad habit: drunk-tweeting @porksmith

‘Tis the season to be jolly, they say. Deck the halls, they say. Fa la la la la la la la la, they say. Bah humbug, says I. Oh, Christmas is all very well and good, I suppose, but that magic I felt as a child, the wonder and anticipation, is gone. The Christmas Spirit does not exist for those who work in retail. I do like decorations, though. People who know me are well aware of my magpie-like fascination with flashing lights and shiny objects, so naturally Christmastime presents me with plenty of pretty things to look at and touch and electrocute myself on. My favourite Christmas ritual as a child was decorating Nan’s tree, and until this had been completed, it just wasn’t Christmas yet. Nan’s tree, like most of the things my grandparents own, is at a bare minimum 3 decades old, but they are of the opinion that until something disolves to dust or spontaneously combusts, it’s still useable. Nothing gets thrown out. (At my birthday dinner recently, Nan had trouble getting the matches for the candles to light. We discovered she was using a book of matches from a chain of hotels that went out of business in the early 90s). It consists of strips of white plastic on sharp, pointy wire limbs that these days would surely not meet safety regulations. There was usually a grandchild impalement at least once every holidays. Up until recently I’d never seen another white Christmas tree like my Nan’s. She claims it’s “snow”, but it just looks anaemic. The decorating of the tree was a sacred tradition, and one which most of the grandchildren took part. Rediscovering all the baubles and ornaments was like greeting old friends, and almost as good as unwrapping presents. The white Christmas tree hasn’t been assembled the past few years, with all the grandchildren grown, and Nan and Pa having gotten older and slightly less mobile. This year, in lieu of a tree, my Aunt wrapped the pedestal fan in wrapping paper and coloured streamers, and the gifts were scattered at the bottom of it. Ingenious!

Santa's urine glows from all the magic eggnog he drinks. And gin. Eggnog and gin.

Even though the excitement of the Christmas season has long since departed for me at least, it still remains the best reason for families to get together and eat and laugh and bicker and eat and reminisce and eat some more. With Pa having been in and out of hospital these past few months, and operated on not a week earlier, this Christmas was a more subdued affair than previous years, but still lovely. Although I’m still a bit sad that we didn’t have crackers and paper hats- I mean, what is this, Iraq? Nan, Pa, Mum, my Aunty Karen, my cousin Lisa and myself were there for the festivities, and another cousin, Scott, and his newlywed bride, Jade, dropped in to wish everyone well. Scott is 9 months younger than me, and as young children I would often force him to play “Mothers” with me and dress him up in my Mum’s lacy nighties. I once made him cry when we were colouring-in when I said my picture was better than his because he drew outside the lines. And now, there he is, all growed up and married, tall and twice my size, with a baby on the way. He’s going to be a daddy. Isn’t that something! At least he’ll have had plenty of practice from playing “Mothers”. I’m quite sure there’s a picture of him somewhere at age 4, wearing a blue negligee and breast-feeding a handpuppet. (On second thoughts, I think that was me…)

All I want for Christmas is some self-respect and the chance to prove I'm not a pervert

At some point during Christmas lunch Nan, her toothless gums gnawing on a cherry pip, mentioned that she often “sampled” the cherries in the supermarket, and then discreetly scattered the pips amongst the lettuces or avocados. We informed her this was shoplifting, and that she was lucky to not be arrested. Nan rejoindered with “They’d have to catch me first!” Aww, God bless ‘er! She’s steadily shrinking, her spine hunching over, her bones are fusing, she’s riddled with rheumatica and arthritis, and has a club foot, but she still believes she could outrun Woolworth’s security guards if the opportunity arose. She’d be hobbling along in her clunky orthopaedic shoes like Quasimodo escaping the mob. Then again, Nan’s not above milking the “Little Old Lady” routine for all it’s worth, and would probably escape any reprimand by acting confused and helpless. Works every time! She once knowingly got into the Easter Show two days in a row with an expired ticket by pretending she didn’t know what day it was.

Christmas is GAY.

My least favourite part of any family gathering is the washing up. (I can hear my mother sniggering from here) I hate doing the washing up! And at Christmas there always seems to be so much more of it. Generally Mum or Aunty Karen will do the washing, and I assist with the drying, or rather, flounce around the kitchen with a dishcloth. This time I decided to take the opportunity to explore my (fairly distant) Jewish heritage. First I wished the family a Happy Hannukah (which Nan seemed surprised of the pronounciation, having only seen it written and assuming it rhymed with “bazooka”), and then using a dishtowel as a shawl and singing snippets of Fiddler on the Roof. This effectively exhausted my knowledge of Jewish culture, so Nan decided to bring out the family tree to demonstrate our history as Mum and Aunty Karen, hands dripping with soap suds and faces dripping with disbelief, looked on in indignation as I successfully avoided the washing up. I did dry a token teaspoon, so don’t say I’m a shirker or nuffin. If you were interested ( I certainly am, especially in the presence of dirty dishes) it was my Great-Great-Grandfather, my Nan’s grandfather, who was a Jew from Latvia. He escaped the Russian pogroms in the 1820s, moved to Australia at about age 14, changed his name from Grun to Green, and became an optometrist. I may have gotten some of those details wrong, because as Nan was telling me, I was attempting to avoid the daggers of scorn shooting from the eyes of my Mum and Aunt.

Unfortunately the visit was shortlived, because I had to work on Boxing Day. And I’m not going to mention my visit to the beach, where I got dumped in the rough surf and briefly “misplaced” my bikini top. Nope, not mentioning that at all. I also got to drop in on Cass and Jess, and good tidings I…brung. It was but a fleeting visit, but truly luvverly to see them again. So, remember folks, Easter is just around the corner… there’s Creme Eggs in Coles already. Peace out.

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2 Responses to “Just hear those sleigh bells ring-a-ling ting ting ting-a-ling LAH, It’s such lovely schmeh meh hngh mff mff hmmunuh SNOW”

  1. Noel Says:

    Sounds like you had a good Xmas and an interesting heritage. I’ve actually seen the movie Santa Claus Conquers Martians. SBS used to play it on Xmas day. I don’t know if they still do. It’s pretty awesome.

    My favourite Xmas episode of anything is the Invader Zim Most Horrible Xmas Ever. There is no particular reason I mention this really.

  2. Your Mum Says:

    I cant beleive that you thought I would be upset by you not joining in to help with the washing up, you are my daughter and i know you tooooo well. If you had noticed I was the one laughing as Aunty Karen was stirring you to help. All I can say is that at least you pretended to help and your grangmother was happy to explain the family tree with you.

    HAPPY NEW YEAR……

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