Tuesday, December 7, 2010

The Girl Who Forgot Christmas

Well, not quite... but it has snuck up on me this year, jumped out, and shouted "BOO!"

I realised today that it's less than three weeks away. Obviously, there's no advent calendar in this household, or I wouldn't have been taken by such surprise. The Faery has been asking me curly questions of late, such as "How many sleeps until Christmas?", and I've been able to answer correctly, but for some reason my brain failed to register just how close Christmas actually is.

Do we have a tree up? Nope - but that was never the plan for this year. Miss Pie is eleven months old, and she may as well be an eleven-week old puppy because she is into destroying everything. A tree and all the trimmings simply wouldn't be a good idea.

Have I sent out (or even written) any cards? Nope, but it's never really been our way. Call me slack, call me lazy, but over the years the occasion for giving Christmas cards has tended to be a last-minute "Oops, they've sent us a card, I'd better give one too" affair. Half-arsed, I know. As for cute, outfits-coordinated, kids-on-Santa's-knee shots, then photo-shopped and made into cards? Ain't gonna happen.

We don't even have a pathetic string of tinsel strung up. To be fair, we moved overseas this year. Only the absolute necessities were shipped over, with the view that we could always buy what we needed as we went along. Basically, I need to get myself to the shops, pronto, before the nicer decorations are all sold, and I only have the mangiest selection of tinsel left to choose from, chipped baubels, and broken fairy lights in the bargain bins.

As for actual presents... I'll get around to it. Soon. I think. Thankfully, the Faery - being only four - is easy to buy for. Her wish list for Santa? A yo-yo and a talking doll. I love that she hasn't been brainwashed into the land of consumerism and wanting the most expensive toy... yet. However, she did also ask for a violin (and was promptly told that Santa only brings instruments to children who know how to play them) and a puppy. Somehow, I get the feeling that our cat - who has barely forgiven us for having another baby, boarding her for nearly three weeks, then shoving her onto a looooong flight - would not be thrilled. Miss Pie hasn't got a clue about this time of year, so she'll be even easier to buy for.

Don't get me wrong. I'm no Scrooge, and I do enjoy giving a gift that I know will be enjoyed. I just belong to the camp that believes the "spirit of Christmas" is mostly about shops and companies, rubbing their hands in glee and out to make a lot of money off people... but I'm not going to get all political about that right now. J and I have always preferred to keep Christmas simple in our family.

How did I let Christmas sneak up with such force this year? Well, in Australia, I've been used to hearing about, and seeing all things Christmas in the shops, from as early as October. Christmas, Christmas, Christmas for a good two months before the actual day. I'm usually over it by mid-November.

This year, being in the US, October was all about Halloween. Which we loved, by the way. Then came November, and the focus was on Thanksgiving. This might not be an Aussie tradition by any stretch, but I sure as hell had fun baking, and consuming, a lot of pumpkin pie.

Turkey ice cream cake, anyone?

So, it's been quite a novelty to not be bombarded with all things Christmas until now, December. Sure, the decorations and cards have been in the shops for a while, but you had to go looking for them. It's only now that Halloween and Thanksgiving are over, that the shops have allowed themselves to go for Christmas overkill - reminding me that I'd better start getting my Christmas shit together. Soon...

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