It's started. My daughter must have some kind of kiddie-sense about it because for the past few weeks we've had to read the Night Before Christmas every night before bed, and I've had to start the "I'm ringing Santa to tell him you've been naughty and are not getting a bike" threats. I thought it ws cute until we waltzed happily into Myer to make the most of the current 25% off kidswear sale, and of course had to fight our way through the Christmas Dept to get there. IN EARLY OCTOBER. Talk about cashing in. Of course, she had a ball and seeing her litle face light up and the shop assistant's go pale when she started picking up the expensive reindeer ornaments was more than worth it. I can't wait to get the tree out and spend an afternoon decorating it, and then spending the evening vacuuming up all the tinsel. Personally, I love chrismas lights and all that jazz, though I do draw the line at life sized singing santas, but my partner belongs firmly in the "Christmas is a well deserved day off and all I want is a sleep in and a beer or 40" no-nonsense camp. So even though our neighbours will not doubt spend a small fortune at Bunnings on a tackorama extravaganza, our place might be a bit more...minimalist. One year I got excited and bought a tin of $2 fake spray-snow but I think it was just out of date shaving cream, because all it did was mutilate the tree in the front yard at Mum's house.
We do have a firm "Christmas doesn't start til December" rule. It's hard to strike a balance between the hyperorganised peeps who do all their shopping in the June sales, and the grumblers who wait til December 24 and then complain about the crowds and the fact that there's only $2 tins of fake spray-snow left on the shelves. But if you're after decorations and such and don't fancy Kmart, here are some online Xmas shops:
Seriously Christmas: they mean business. Check out this page for a jolly good laugh: http://seriouslychristmas.com.au/products/index.php?main_page=index&cPath=12&zenid=f813ff7b01e78f4bc048a3cd677a479c I didn't realise there were country themed decorations! For a UN-inspired Chrissy, perhaps you could try a blurred nondescript gilted decoration from Denmark, a Reject-shop inspired glittery bauble from Hungary, or a fat warbling angel candle holder with token confused shepherd in the background from Italy. Poland apparently takes it's cultral direction from the Hungarians with oversized sparkly hearts, but my absolute FAV is the Swedish Santa. Check him out. Obviously they gave up on the IKEA instruction booklet he most likely comes with, and instead instructed the local kindergarten to find cotton wool, cardboard, that french knitting set a random aunt gave you last year, crack them open and just go nuts. I so want one for our Chrissy Lunch table. If he sings Abba, I'm buying all in existence and setting up a little group of caroling santas on the front lawn. Take that, Bunnings.
Celebrating Christmas gives us this little gem: http://www.celebratingchristmas.com.au/cgi-bin/Celebrating/detailproduct.html?_default_siteObject_siteObjectID=997222 for a jungle-inspired holiday season; or this centrepiece for a funky Chrissy day that probably will involve smoking the special plant your cousin brought along: http://www.celebratingchristmas.com.au/cgi-bin/Celebrating/detailproduct.html?_default_siteObject_siteObjectID=725856 .
To really confuse everyone, play a fun game of "guess the condiment" with these fabulous salt and pepper shakers from Everything Christmas: http://www.everythingchristmas.com.au/prod464.htm . Does Santa hold le salt or le pepper? Ooh the excitement! The website helpfully notes the shakers are handwashable, which is good to know because I do have a disturbing habit of continually putting my dishware in the washing machine.
Still, got to hand it to them, keeping the Yuletide spirit alive and well 365 days a year. Forcing upon us snow-themed decorations in 30 degree summer heat. Causing distress and heartache to chic homemaker magazine editors and Better homes and Gardens presenters the world over. Is it possible to have a stylish Christmas? Are we meant to? I sorta hope not. I can't see Miuccia Prada reinventing the paper Christmas hat anytime soon. As long as we can shop to our heart's content for winter-themed decorations in the hottest days of Summer, Christmas will always be Christmas. Bring on the mulled wine in an oversized embellished mug with reindeer antler handles, man!