Tag Archives: Christmas

Santa, baby

16 Dec

 

jesussanta

 

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!

 

 

 

 

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On Family.

15 Dec
Mabel Jane with her Great Step Grandfather

Mabel Jane with her Step Great Grandfather

 

The next little while is set to be somewhat frenetic in our household, as in many others, as we prepare for an early Christmas with my family’s little ones, and then a Christmas at the other end of life’s cycle with Mrs Chook’s ninety-year-old Mum and family.

Mrs Chook didn’t have kids and I don’t have a Mum, so we share.

There won’t be much on Sheep, except maybe some bleating about four-year-old Archie’s snoring, sleep talking and aggravated assault of his Giddy after he’s padded his way down the stairs from his bedroom to mine in the middle of the night  and in a stage whisper said “Giddy, can I get in your bed I promise I won’t pee.”

Well, he doesn’t pee, but he does thrash about and hit me in the eye.

A woman called Vicki once said to me, family is everything. I know she was talking about traditional heterosexual families. But for mine, that is a very narrow concept of family, and the fact that it’s heterosexual and traditional is no guarantee of it being any good.

It doesn’t matter how family is constituted: if there’s a group of people who love each other and share their lives, that’s a family. It’s about time this privileging of traditional heterosexual families came to an end.

My extended and blended family recently came together for the naming of our youngest babies, Mabel Jane, called after her late great-grandmother, and her cousin, Audrey Mae.

Mabel Jane & Audrey Mae on their naming day

Audrey Mae & Mabel Jane on their naming day

Mabel Jane brings the total number of grandchildren in this family to twenty. There are second marriages and ex partners and new partners and we all turn up for every wedding and naming and we all get on, regardless of our sometimes chequered histories, and we even get on when we’re pissed, so that’s some indication of how our family is everything to us.

 

Ted at his sister's naming day

Ted at his sister’s naming day

 

What astonishes me is the elasticity of the human heart, as it expands itself to make room for yet one more individual, adult or child, who through birth or commitment enters this family and becomes a member. We may not always like each other all of the time, and some of us wouldn’t want to spend our lives with some of us, but I doubt there’s any one of us who’d turn their back if someone  else was in trouble.

This is not to say some families aren’t shit. My family of origin was unspeakable, so there’s a dark side to the “family is everything” mantra: family can be everything in the worst possible way, haunting you for the rest of your life, and under those circumstances, Christmas is no fun.

If it’s awful I hope with all my heart that it passes quickly for you.

And no matter what combination constitutes your family, however big or small it may be, love one another the best you can, and put the all sharp implements in the high cupboards.

Archie at the party

Archie at the party

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Two blogs to read. And thank you, and happy holidays!

24 Dec

I’ve just read two blogs that remind me just how classy Australian blogs can be.

First, in the spirit of the season David Horton takes a good look at those whining reactionaries such as Barnaby Joyce who always get on their soapboxes at this time of the year and complain about the de-Xmassing of Xmas. The Watermelon Man’s posts invariably contain little gems of information that both delight and embiggen the brain, and this one is no exception. While you’re there, have a look at some of the other posts because Horton has one of the most unique and interesting voices in the blogosphere.

Then there’s this one, by Carey Moore. It’s a timely reminder that no matter how bizarre one might believe Tony Abbott to be, this is no time to get complacent about his chances of being the next PM. Titled “Busting a few Tony Abbott myths,” Carey unpacks five common assumptions made by Abbott haters that speak to the unlikely prospect that he’ll become our nation’s leader, and shows just how dangerous they could become if we allowed ourselves to be lulled by them.

One of the things I like about this time of the year is the enforced holiday. I like it that the country slows down for a couple of weeks, and that gives me permission to do the same. What the hell, it’s Xmas, I don’t have to…. fill in the blanks. For the next couple of weeks we can loaf about, kayak as much as we want to, sleep in, read crime novels, watch the Sopranos again from the very first series, listen to as much music as we want and slop around in our bathers and sarongs all day. Friends and family will come and go over the next few weeks, and the house has been made ready for easy hospitality.

So I may or may not put stuff up on Sheep!

Thank you so very much for visiting here, reading the blogs, commenting, and engaging with me. No Place for Sheep is approaching its first anniversary in a few days. We’ve had over 43,000 visits this year, and the National Library of Australia has suggested adding us to its digital archives, an honour indeed.

I’ve discovered I was born to blog, and I’ll be forever grateful to have lived in an era when this powerful means of self-expression is so readily available.

If you can, spare a thought for people doing it rough for whatever reason. Those of us free to enjoy this time of the year are among the earth’s most privileged inhabitants.

Be safe, be well, and love one another.

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