Santa, baby

16 Dec




It isn’t possible to avoid the Christmas palaver unless one is able engineer a retreat to uninhabited regions, I know because I’ve been trying for years.

If you aren’t religious and/or into rampant consumerism, the current performance of Christmas is both bewildering and nauseating, in the Sartrean sense of “sweet sickness” and abject disgust. Indeed, it could be argued that both consumerism and religion spring from the same existential emptiness: there’s a satisfying logic in their coming together at the culmination of the western year, in a union so desperate it becomes impossible to distinguish one from the other.

Thus you will find yourself, as did I last weekend, in the contemporary hell of a large shopping centre, your ears assaulted by a combination of hideously performed Christmas music piped through a hideously distorted sound system; the screaming and whining of innocent children adversely affected by the negative ambience of their surroundings and possessed by the spirit of I want it all and I want it now; and weary, ill-tempered adults who’ll run you over with their laden trolleys in a heartbeat, if you don’t get the fuck out of their way.

We were three adults, with a child each. You’d think with that ratio we’d cope, but we didn’t. We got thrown out of the Elves’ Cave for flattening the reindeer who were left splayed and soggy on the floor after three children sat on them at the same time and the baby chewed an antler. Two of the children are bolters, so there was that as well.

I have seldom known such sensory exhaustion as was induced in me by that hour doing Christmas. I felt, like Sartre’s protagonist, deprived of the ability to define myself against the desperate clamouring of consumerism, backgrounded by Away in a Manger and Silent Night.

I know I have many faults, idiosyncrasies, and traumas. So I can’t tell if my distaste for the Christmas palaver is healthy or perverse. Thankfully, I no longer care.

I hope everyone has a good time. I hope it doesn’t get too lonely if there’s no one else around. And, remember, all things must pass.

Last word to the baby who ate the antlers, a wise child indeed.

Happy Holidays!

Happy Holidays!





50 Responses to “Santa, baby”

  1. Ambitious_Drifter December 16, 2016 at 8:48 am #

    And Dutton wants us to rise up and protect this ugly sell fest. Happy Solstice!

    Liked by 2 people

  2. lindacairnes2 December 16, 2016 at 9:03 am #

    enjoy the year change. i have elected to spend the entire break, alone, eating a little nice food, a pile of books to read and if its nice, a drive to Coogee to welcome the daybreak at the women’s pool..bliss.
    My son is spending the month at ‘Winter Wonderland’ in Ascot, UK as an ELF..looking after the real reindeers, and saving them from the rich punters..I don’t envy him, or the reindeers.
    And thank you for yr ever powerful contribution to 2016. You have made me weep, rage, and laugh out loud.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Jennifer Wilson December 16, 2016 at 9:06 am #

      Thank you Linda.
      Your plans do indeed sound blissful.
      I used to swim in the Coogee women’s pool regularly when I lived in Bondi, then have fish & chips with my friends afterwards. Enjoy.


  3. Tref December 16, 2016 at 9:16 am #

    I hate Christmas. I hate the expectation from my interstate sister that I am going to provide at least $100 a head for her teenage/adult children (and receive nowt in return). I hate not knowing what to buy my long-suffering wife. I hate Dutton and the inevitable ‘PC gone too far’ crowd using Xmas as an excuse to bash Muslims.

    I do like the Cocos (Keeling Islands – a territory of Australia, predominantly Muslim, and a mobile phone, internet service not worth it’s name – possibly the only place left on the planet where you can affordably escape the Christmas nightmare.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Jennifer Wilson December 16, 2016 at 9:59 am #

      I’m getting a ticket to Cocos next year Tref. Thanks for the heads-up.
      Good luck surviving the next couple of weeks.


  4. helvityni December 16, 2016 at 9:37 am #

    ‘And, remember, all things must pass’.

    Ham, prawns on the barbie, sickly sweet mince pies leave me cold, I have enough already, I buy the books I want to read, I don’t want any more stuff…

    Then I feel guilty, I go to the shops and buy, T-shirts with brand names, pink things, black things, cool or pretty or something in between… Remember H, it’s for the children , it’s not about you, I soldier on…

    I keep repeating, this Christmas too will pass…..

    PS. Note to self: ask the kids to keep the prize tags on, unwanted objects can be returned, my ‘ cool’ is not today’s ‘cool’…..

    Liked by 3 people

    • Jennifer Wilson December 16, 2016 at 10:01 am #

      I don’t buy anybody over the age of seven clothes, Helvi, with the exception of one adult who loves my taste.
      Good luck!

      Liked by 1 person

    • sam jandwich December 16, 2016 at 11:37 am #

      Eeewww, my somatic aversion to mince pies is stronger than it is to cheap tequila. The very thought…

      Liked by 2 people

  5. samjandwich December 16, 2016 at 11:56 am #

    “both consumerism and religion spring from the same existential emptiness”

    Lovely way of putting it Jennifer. I remember when I was a wee lad I came up with this theory that all spiritual experiences can be explained in aesthetic terms – ie the feeling of being reassuringly close to God is essentially the same experience of “the beautiful” as is holding that beautiful and warm Rosenthal teapot that you’d spent the year saving up for lovingly against your breast, or indeed knowing that somewhere out there your lackeys are plucking brown people out of their life rafts and sending them back to where they came from, depending on your disposition. Probably should have written a book about it, though I imagine someone else probably has…

    Regardless, I’m actually getting a little festively religious this Christmas, following from my highly enjoyable trip to PNG earlier this year. Despite what you may think of Christianity, I really appreciated the fact that many of the people I met in PNG had a genuinely loving relationship with their church, and it inspires a desire to reach out and be inclusive of others, even if they’re from a different background. So we’ve sent our Christmas cards, and we’re having some wantoks around for turkey and pudding on the 25th. They’ll probably even say grace and pray for us.

    Sigh, sometimes it’s nice to feel involved in something…

    Liked by 3 people

    • Jennifer Wilson December 16, 2016 at 8:13 pm #

      Ah, well, your last sentence Sam, that’s the way religion gets you in 🙂

      I was educated by extraordinary Christian nuns, Anglican, not Catholic, but so understated were they I barely think of them in terms of their religious beliefs, rather for their determination that girls must be educated, and for saving me from ghastly family circumstances.
      So I understand the pleasure of interacting with people who genuinely care about others and believe in the worth of others.

      As I watched the tragedy in Aleppo unfold the other day I wished so hard that I believed in a god to whom I could pray for intervention.

      Liked by 4 people

      • samjandwich December 16, 2016 at 9:07 pm #

        Whoops, teary hour*(

        Liked by 1 person

      • silkworm December 17, 2016 at 12:02 am #

        Jennifer, I am celebrating the liberation of Aleppo. The western media is telling us that there is a genocide going on, but it is a big fat lie.

        Liked by 1 person

  6. townsvilleblog December 16, 2016 at 2:15 pm #

    It isn’t possible to avoid the Christmas palaver unless one is able engineer a retreat to uninhabited regions, yes it is Jennifer. If you are from a poor family like ours its easy, nobody can afford presents, so we all gather at one home, all put in a $20 note and whatever we can buy with the collection is it, be that ham or roast beef slices or salads and byo any drinks as well we all have the best lunch of the year then go off to our own homes to sleep for the afternoon, no problem,

    Liked by 3 people

    • auntyuta December 16, 2016 at 4:00 pm #

      Our German tradition is to celebrate Christmas on Christmas Eve. Our family gets together Christmas Eve. We have now an agreement that only the kids get presents. The adults have to be happy with only one gift from “Secret Santa”. The suggestion is to spend only 20 Dollars on that Secret Santa gift.
      I cannot stand shopping centres for very long at any time of the year. I always try to get out as quickly as possible!

      Liked by 4 people

      • samjandwich December 16, 2016 at 8:06 pm #

        German tradition… oh no, i’ve always hoped that Knecht Ruprecht would pay me a visit and give me a good seeing-to.

        Sorry whoops happy hour/-;

        Liked by 2 people

        • Jennifer Wilson December 16, 2016 at 8:22 pm #

          Sam, I want to ask just what is a good seeing -to but perhaps I’ll leave it for the moment….

          Liked by 3 people

          • samjandwich December 16, 2016 at 9:15 pm #

            [arches back again]

            [feels naughty]

            “vegemite instead of jam for you tomorrow!!”

            Liked by 2 people

            • Jennifer Wilson December 17, 2016 at 6:56 am #

              Sheep: seriously disappointed.

              Liked by 1 person

              • townsvilleblog December 17, 2016 at 11:29 am #

                Jennifer, we could make your punishment something more pleasurable but then we would receive complaints for being lurid so we better stick to the Vegemite hey!

                Liked by 1 person

              • samjandwich December 18, 2016 at 9:39 pm #

                You haven’t reassured me that I’ll be forgiven.

                Stupid Friday night/-;

                I’m prepared…


      • Jennifer Wilson December 16, 2016 at 8:19 pm #

        I agree, auntyuta, shopping centres give me the creeps. Only ever visit them if I know exactly what I want and where to find it. Life is too short for shopping centres.

        Liked by 3 people

    • Jennifer Wilson December 16, 2016 at 8:17 pm #

      Shaun, that is the best way I’ve heard of to spend the day.
      We all do the same, everyone makes a contribution. It’s the BS that goes on in shops & media etc that I hate.

      Liked by 1 person

  7. doug quixote December 16, 2016 at 5:14 pm #

    Bah Humbug!

    I’ve put up with Christmas every year for more years than I care to remember . . .

    the upside is that putting up with it means we’re still here to put up.

    Grin and bear it. 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

    • Jennifer Wilson December 16, 2016 at 8:21 pm #

      Well, we are flitting between ancient mothers & very young grandchildren, being the sandwich generation.
      At some point I will grin and bare it 😂

      Liked by 1 person

  8. Fiona December 16, 2016 at 9:17 pm #

    I am an atheist, but had a mild dose of religiosity in my late teens, and was baptised and confirmed then.

    My atheism reasserted itself quite rapidly, but I did for various reasons subsequently spend seven years singing in my local church choir. Given it’s possible to combine atheism with some form of spirituality, there are few things more spiritual, in my experience, than singing a capella at evensong on a cold winter evening.

    As for the rest of it, bah humbug!

    Liked by 2 people

    • Jennifer Wilson December 17, 2016 at 6:56 am #

      Fiona, I agree with your differentiation between religion and spirituality. The latter is a word I’m hesitant to use much, as I don’t really know how to explain it & it’s been hijacked by now defunct new agers.
      But I know exactly what you mean, and I think what the nuns taught me or nurtured in me was the capacity for spiritual experience, rather than any adherence to religion.

      Liked by 1 person

      • paul walter. December 17, 2016 at 1:11 pm #

        Good one, Jennifer.

        Liked by 1 person

    • Cat December 17, 2016 at 7:01 am #

      Indeed Fiona, spirituality is not confined to established religion.

      I am neither an atheist nor a true believer. I would love to have a strong faith in God. Some of the best people I have ever met have a deep faith expressed in kindness for and understanding of others, in peacefulness and acceptance.

      I think humans yearn to make sense of life in a spiritual sense. I think that yearning informs all great art.

      I don’t hate Christmas. I toddle around doing all the usual, expected things: stuffing turkeys, wrapping presents, hanging baubles on a zingingly aromatic freshly cut tree and sneezing for days after. Every year I lament the hideousness of shopping strip tinsel drooping in the sun-glare and I wonder where all the cicadas have gone and their Yuletide companions, those Irridescent emerald Christmas beetles.

      For me an Australian Christmas involves memories of childhood: sunburn, home-made cordial iceblocks, a new shuttlecock set, long, free days, ripe apricots falling from laden branches and that mad, screaming cicada orchestra.

      I would prefer the real thing though.

      My most treasured Christmas memory is a Mozart midnight mass at an exquisite baroque church in Munich and afterwards a walk home in the dark crispness. I understand the spiritual feeling you have singing a Capella in a cold church, Fiona. Indeed it is interesting and a bit sad that having been born here and living most of my life in Australia, I would rather be in the Northern Hemisphere at this time of the year. Cavorting on Bondi beach in togs and antlers doesn’t quite cut it for me. Give me icicles and gloom any day.

      Liked by 2 people

      • helvityni December 17, 2016 at 11:03 am #

        The only real Christmases for me are those of my snow laden Finnish childhood; I was happy to get hand-knitted socks as present ,as long as the next one was a much awaited book…

        Dad cut the best real Christmas tree from our own forest, a Spruce tree…Most of the decorations we made ourselves as kids…

        Finland being Lutheran we too had our roast dinner on the twenty-fourth; next morning we drove to the early Christmas service…

        Liked by 1 person

        • Cat December 17, 2016 at 12:34 pm #

          Love your comments Helvityni. I wonder how your name sounds? In recent years I have become very interested in places like Finland and Iceland. My knowledge remains slight but I shall discover more this year.

          Liked by 1 person

          • Jennifer Wilson December 17, 2016 at 2:09 pm #

            Finland is beautiful in summer. I spent a glorious time in Helsinki eating salmon, strawberries, and drinking beer. We tried to visit the home of Sibelius, but it was closed.


            • Cat December 17, 2016 at 3:09 pm #

              I looked up Sibelius’ house. Enchanting. Thankyou for that Jennifer. There is a picture on line of the house covered in snow, the windows a-glow with golden light. So comforting to my eyes. Townsvilleblogger would be chilled to the bone.

              Liked by 1 person

      • Jennifer Wilson December 17, 2016 at 11:07 am #

        I agree with you about the icicles & gloom, Cat. That’s my preferred environment, Xmas or not. Bad luck for someone who lives in the sub tropics!


        • Cat December 17, 2016 at 12:41 pm #

          The sub tropics would not suit my temperament at all Jennifer. Nothing makes me happier than hearing that an icy blast is on the way. People think I am nuts but I think there are quite a few of us who enjoy the delights of winter: crackling kindling, soup on the stove, knitting, reading.

          Liked by 1 person

          • townsvilleblog December 17, 2016 at 12:46 pm #

            As was said when I was a boy “it takes all types to make a world” I can’t imagine living anywhere except the tropics, I’d freeze to death in Victoria or Tasmania.

            Liked by 1 person

  9. paul walter. December 16, 2016 at 10:47 pm #

    Liked by 1 person

    • helvityni December 17, 2016 at 10:45 am #

      Paul, is that THE Luther of that fantastic British TV crime drama, loved it…


  10. paul walter. December 17, 2016 at 1:10 pm #

    Thanks Helvi,

    The bad vibe hit me like a truck on Tuesday. Depression, ugh!

    How the seasons for big binges, stupid behaviours including rudeness, consumer spending and the constant nagging to spend from the retail and entertainment industries.

    The media and newspapers go dead, except for silly season nonsenses about what underwear women are wearing at shopping centres, but real news disappears from the face of the earth and you have to live in a vacuum.

    Nothing to do with celebrating the birth of an exemplary pacifist hero, just a bacchanalia to drown the senses and immoblise subjects. No tipping up of the the tables of money changers this time, just mindless splurging on the system’s terms while the real world of Africa or Aleppo goes to hell in a handcart.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Jennifer Wilson December 18, 2016 at 6:06 am #

      Perfect summation, PW. Enough to depress the cheeriest soul.
      And the expectation that everyone will have a wonderful time. ugh.


      • paul walter. December 18, 2016 at 4:16 pm #

        As you say elsewhere the effort of patience to adaptability is keystone to survival.

        We shall see what we shall see..

        Liked by 1 person

  11. Anonymous December 18, 2016 at 9:53 am #

    Oh I love this Jennifer. It made me LOL as I pictured the scenes!

    Liked by 1 person

  12. nansfarm December 18, 2016 at 7:53 pm #

    I was tempted to say ‘Humbug’ but you’re not really the hard lady you like to project are you? I was on a rare day trip to London yesterday, the amount of people on the tubes and in the shops was alarmingly frightening, being crushed against others, even on the street was not an experience I want to repeat. We were caught up in the March/demo against the bombing in Allepo, it was an emotional experience and a helpless one. Best wishes for a peaceful Christmas Jennifer.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Jennifer Wilson December 18, 2016 at 9:35 pm #

      Best wishes to you also, nansfarm.
      I just looked at the pics on your website. How beautiful your place is.

      Liked by 1 person

      • nansfarm December 19, 2016 at 1:43 am #

        Thank you very much Jennifer

        Liked by 1 person

        • paul walter. December 20, 2016 at 12:11 am #

          I don’t think she is a hard-ass either.
          Just wants a decent future for her kids and grandkids.

          Liked by 2 people

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