More ponderous

10 Dec

Living in a Muslim country makes for a surprisingly awesome Christmas. The difficulties and complexities are stripped away, or at least easily ignored, and from this distance it’s very hard to insult anyone or be insulted by anyone in the heat of a December moment. There is no stress of trying to get from the music concert across to the kindergarten graduation and then home to have a shower and scrub the toilet before the babysitter comes and you leave for the work Christmas show. And you don’t have to worry about how you’re going to cater for 27 people when, even if you use the good plates, you’ve only got 16.

There is, of course, the melancholy and the yearning for Christmases past, but (and I’m sure you won’t be surprised to hear this), I quite like that bit.

So I don’t have any major stresses or whinges. But I do have a few little grinches which seem to come up from year to year, so herewith, my little list of Christmas grinches (because it’s either that or some sentimental piece about grief and the layers of time and I’m sure you’ve had enough of those):

1. I cannot stand anything set to the tune of Twelve Days of Christmas. Sorry Annabel Crabb, this includes you. However witty, however informed, however contemporary, if you are setting words to this carol, you will evoke an image of a work Christmas skit which includes men dressed as women or possibly men dressed in fairy wings.

2. I would like to know (or perhaps I would not like to know) how many Christmas letters begin with the following: ‘Well, I can hardly believe it’s time to sit down and write this letter…’ or some variation on that theme (‘I can hardly believe another year has passed’, ‘Can you believe it’s been a year…’ and so on).

3. I’m not sure that I’m totally jiggy with the whole ‘give a goat’ thing. I have worked or volunteered in many NGOs and I know the thought that goes into fundraising and awareness raising. I know that there is probably endless discussion at staff meetings, board meetings and so on and that overall and taking everything into account, they are considered to be a good thing. I’m also pretty sure I have handed my brother a card telling him that I bought a goat or a latrine or somesuch on his behalf. But I dunno, it isn’t really a gift, is it? It feels a little bit earnest, and a touch patronising in its assumption that the person receiving the card needs you to intervene and do their good works for them. Also, I’m a bit uncomfortable with the first world gifts to the third world dynamic it perpetuates.

4. At this time of year, I get a lot of hits on my blog by people who appear to be looking for the recipe for nuts and bolts made with nutri grain and curry powder. People, it’s 2010. Move on.

5. I also get a lot of hits for people looking for the Magic Cave. My advice? Go and look at the Magic Cave, but if you want to see Santa Claus/Father Christmas, go down to Myer. Although the days of just turning up and being the second in line have gone, it’s still a heaps shorter wait than at the Magic Cave. And they let you take your own photographs, and don’t put any pressure on you at the end to buy theirs.
and a propos of nada, a Christmas photograph from the archives
Road Closed, Loxton, South Australia
If you’re interested, you can catch a bus from Adelaide or even Mildura to see the Loxton lights. I just see them as part of my Christmas family visiting, but there’s a shirtload of buses making the trip.


15 Responses to “More ponderous”

  1. Helen December 10, 2010 at 1:25 pm #

    “3. I’m not sure that I’m totally jiggy with the whole ‘give a goat’ thing.”

    Problem solved! This present ticks ALL the boxes.

    • ThirdCat December 10, 2010 at 1:29 pm #


  2. Pen December 10, 2010 at 2:45 pm #

    One of my friends was given an actual goat in a moment of seasonal misunderstanding.

    Which makes me think of Dear Zoo.

    • ThirdCat December 11, 2010 at 7:50 am #

      Srsly? My lads are going to think that is brilliant (and prolly ask for their own goat).

  3. planetnomad December 11, 2010 at 2:01 am #

    I had a comment ready to go and then I clicked on the link in Helen’s comment and it drove all else from my mind! I am still shuddering! On the bright side though, what an awesome white elephant gift THAT would be! People would fight over it!

    • ThirdCat December 11, 2010 at 7:45 am #

      Yes, I can’t believe my dad didn’t give those as gifts. Would’ve been right up his alley. You could probably get some shipped to you.

  4. TimT December 11, 2010 at 2:04 am #

    I think the song 12 days of Christmas itself is hilarious, a kind of uber-parody, but (like ‘Modern Major General’ and a few other comedy songs) has spawned a billion sub-parodies that are nowhere near as good.

    • ThirdCat December 11, 2010 at 7:44 am #

      Somehow I don’t mind Modern Major General quite as much, but probably only because you don’t hear it as often.

  5. elsewhere December 11, 2010 at 2:31 am #

    I think the goat thing is good for 85 yo’s, esp when they say ‘no more stuff, I’ve got enough already’ (subtext: and it’s you who’ll be cleaning out my flat one day).

    • ThirdCat December 11, 2010 at 7:49 am #

      In my experience, a goat would be of great help in cleaning up such a flat.

  6. franzy December 11, 2010 at 7:03 am #

    I can’t believe it’s time to start writing Christmas-themed blog posts already! My, how the time does fly.

    *nyuk nyuk* I know you’re expecting it.

    I have actually visited that very purse stall at a Pt Douglas outpost and have photos of Mele posing with said accoutrements. That we are still together is probably testament to the fact that I didn’t get her one.

    • ThirdCat December 11, 2010 at 7:48 am #

      *boom tish*

      You didn’t get one? I don’t think I’d be able to resist (a la planet nomad’s comment above)

  7. Kath Lockett December 11, 2010 at 2:12 pm #

    We’ve been to that purse stall too!

    And, I’m deeply ashamed to say, I stood there for a bit *too long* as I thought about who I could buy one for.

    Thankfully I didn’t and bought some earrings at another stall instead.

    Substitute ‘Twelve Days of Christmas’ for the frackin awful ‘Little Drummer Boy’ for mine

    • ThirdCat December 12, 2010 at 7:42 am #

      I love Little Drummer Boy!
      I’d be absolutely tempted by the purse, but the thought of having it in my suitcase until I got home, that’s what would put me off.

  8. blue milk December 20, 2010 at 5:38 pm #

    I have lived in non-Christian countries before and it is intriguing to see something as apparently universal and permanent to me, as Xmas is, be a quirky after-thought. Virtually the only people recognising it in those countries were some shops and restaurants catering heavily to the tourist dollar. Probably the way Halloween would feel to Americans living in Australia. A very childish part of me finds the thought of Xmas not existing in these countries head-hurting, like trying to understand the absence of endings that is the universe.

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