As we approach the end of the year, in any year, there does seem to be an odd quickening of everything around us.
Time seems to accelerate and a huge magnet, with a fat Father Christmas so on top of it, seems to drag us faster and faster towards that fateful day of turkey and crackers! From the first moment that a tin foil covered Santa chocolate appears in the shop we are doomed. The gun goes off and we hurtle head long towards that date, with our credit card maxed and our nerves a little jangled, actually jingle jangled.
Suddenly everyone’s time is at a premium and you can’t find a plumber, electrician, drain rodder or builder to save your life. I speak from experience here, as over the last two weeks I have been beaten senseless by a nesting Oz, my better half and unfortunately very Australian during this time of the Ashes.
She is in full home perfection flight mode and this, I have only just realised as a man, is why “no man” with any hands on talent is available for the next six weeks, our wives have them booked out!
Up and down the street I see plumbers, painters and even lawn laying guys looking harassed and drawn. Mrs SA is on the march and if she wants that job done now, she is going to get it done now. Husbands are discarded as second rate and slackers, we had “all year to sort that out’’ and now Aunt Mabel or the mother in law, or goodness knows who, is coming at Christmas and everything must be right. Not nearly right, not almost right, just absolutely and utterly perfect.
A tradesman with a van could charge whatever he wanted at this time of year and get away with it, as long as she who must be obeyed can get away with “’Oh leave the bill my husband will EFT the money tomorrow.” One guy wanted to charge R500 to come to our house to do nothing more than say the sensor in the light was broken. “I know it is, we paid you last week to come and fix it and you didn’t.” “Well, I’m very sorry sir but I am busy now until the New Year.” Yeah not surprising if you can make house calls every 30 minutes for 500 bucks.
OK, I will chill out but the magnet is pulling, the credit card is emptying and I still haven’t finished those twenty things I wanted to do by Christmas, actually I wanted them done by July but they just dragged on, a bit like that light sensor.
The problem though is that I am an absolute sucker for Christmas, I just love it. I really do and I always have done. I love the shops and the displays, I love the kitsch music, the decorations, the ridiculously pointless presents and the cramped and noisy malls.
I can’t wait for Christmas morning, because I love socks, a pointless book, soap on a rope and chocolates but most of all I love the look on the face of the kids and the one’s you love when you just “know” you got the present 100% correct. When their eyes are wider than my Christmas girth and they hug you with delight and a smile that could melt your heart.
Am I shallow? No doubt. Do I love Christmas? 100%. The true meaning is never lost on me either! Love, family, giving, sharing and caring. Now that’s not a bad legacy for a young man from Bethlehem to leave behind, even if to some it is a little distorted in the 21st century after his birth.