It seems retailers are trying to push Christmas out to a nine month season, launching it earlier and earlier each year. This year I swear that no sooner had the last melted Cadbury cream Easter egg been wiped off the shelf, then they were being replaced with little chocolate Santas, quicker than you could say '"Holy-chocolate-covered-religious-holidays!" So how do we know when Christmas has officially begun? This helpful checklist below will help you know when it’s all systems go with the Ho, Ho, Ho.
Invitations for work end-of-year parties - it's the end of another corporate year (nearly...late November when the function venues are a bit cheaper) and its time to celebrate our wins (ignore the losses...particularly those relating to staffing positions, funding, court cases or revenue). Let's all get together as a team/family (far-fetched perhaps, but what is the appropriate collective noun for a bunch of strangers forced to spend 8 hours a day together? Inmates?) and have some fun (as much as $44.95 per head will allow, in-line with the HR Party Policy distributed as an attachment to this invite).
Increased trading hours (and catalogues) - Did you know that Buypoint Heights Shopping City Metro Square will be open for the entire month? That's right; we won’t be closing our doors! Come on down, do some present shopping, meet Santa plus the local teen street gang that now lives in our foyer. Not sure what to buy for that person you feel obliged to have a standby gift for in case they give you one? Don’t worry! We'll be sending you enough catalogues to your letterbox to paper-mache an elephant.
Pine trees- are like the jockeys of the tree world. They are ugly and people tend to only notice them one month of the year. I remember going to get a Christmas tree as being a significant event. You'd go with your Dad and your Grandfather out to the country to find the right tree, chop it down and bring it back home, with its aroma filling the house for the next few weeks. Nowadays you go to the Target post-Christmas sales to find a plastic imitation tree with laser lights, DVD player, WiFi and GPS at 50% off. You happily chop down the knees of the old man considering buying the last remaining one, take it home and let the toxic fumes of the Chinese-plastic fill your cupboard for the next year.
Talk of seasons, holidays and Xmas- if there is one thing Christmas can no longer be about, it's the Christ. Remove all references to it and talk like a tourism brochure in generalities about 'season' and 'holidays'. If you must, make it sound like a talent quest for Catholic priests and call it X-mass (extra 's' optional). It seems the baby in the manger has grown up to be too confronting a theological and philosophical question for today's human. We are more concerned with living in a world where a magical, frequent flying, red suited old guy drops off presents to kids he's been watching sleep all year. Not only that, but parents encourage their children to go sit on the lap of this fat weirdo while his elves (don’t even start!) take a photo of the whole thing. Best not to mention the story of God taking the form of man to live amongst us. That’s just too weird.
Kris Kringle- who is this strange dude and his weird gift giving process? Perhaps the most famous Kris to have ever lived, besides the guys in Kris Kross, his legacy is an approach to present giving that is both easy and infuriating. As one who finds this minimalist gifting custom a stress, the advice I received a few years back seems to work. Always give a cigar. Apparently people can’t get enough of improving their chances of gum and throat cancer, whilst looking like a fat financier.
End of year wrap up blogs - written by lazy bloggers just before they head off on their summer holidays to live it up at a foreshore caravan park for 10 days and nights of keyboard-free craziness. Nothing suggests more than the year list post that the creative juices have been squeezed fully out, and all that is now being served is pulp and rind. Occasionally though they can be helpful. Like the one I read today on the '10 Most Influential Cats of 2013'.