Christmas might be an absurd consumerist spendathon fuelled by underlying feelings of guilt, insincerity and gluttony (wow, so much cynicism before breakfast can be harmful), but sometimes the simplest of acts can deliver something you know Hallmark would refer to as "the true meaning of Christmas". Last night, feeling hot, lazy and hungry, we stocked up on KFC and did the rounds of suburbia to gauge the tackiness of people's Christmas Light displays. There is an odd correlation between suburbs that receive the most letters from Centrelink and an abundance of lights and blow up decorations (as in, ones full of air, not weapons), and I think this year K-Rudd's generous donation to spur on the economy was mostly spent at Bunnings, where happy shoppers loaded their trolleys with "one of everything please" in the Lights aisle. This "one of everything" was then vomited haphazardly onto said shopper's dwellings, to create an epileptic display of random flashing, and I even saw one blow up santa coming out of a wrapped present, and then slowly lowering himself back in (in shame, one presumes).
Still, there were some displays that obviously had taken alot of hard work, and looked like those houses in American movies which probably doesn't represent America at all but that's what they want us to think. We pulled up to admire some of the displays and had our car window tapped on by little kids dressed as elves handing out lollies and little packages of cello-wrapped jellybeans, which quite frankly ws so simple and touching a gesture that it made me feel all festive and fuzzy. The kids directing traffic to their house in a cul-de-sac off a main street using a flashing light sabre also get my festivity vote (also because I nabbed a Flake from them, yeeaaah!). In one suburbs, I'm not sure whether it was the Spirit of Christmas or the Spirit of Competition that wsas over-riding, but nevertheless all you had to do was roll up, stick your hand out the window and receive more and more elaborate goodies. Quite frankly, we shouldn't have eaten before we left. They should take homeless people in those soup vans around to get the handouts, they'd be stuffed full until Easter. At any rate, the kids were loving it, my daughter's face was lit up brighter than any light display (what she was learning about accepting lollies from strangers I don't know) and we all came home in a jolly good mood. Our tree has all the presents under it, most of the decorations are still on there somewhere, and there are cards strewn across the bookshelf. It might be 25 degrees outside and too hot for mulled wine and roasted chestnuts (never too hot for chilled white wine and gourmet nibblies though) but at least it feels a bit like Christmas.....
Department stores may have taken their decorations down already, but it was a bit like once they did, and stopped forcing Christmas sales down our throats, actual Festivities started to struggle out from under the pile of bargain-filled catalogues and useless prepackaged gift hampers. Plus, it means stores are getting ready for the Boxing Day sales, which is admittedly what all of us spendaholic, materialistic gluttonous consumers are really excited about.
*cue note about Frock You Boxing Day Sale - yes it is happening, yes it will be huge, no it won't be on Boxing Day becuase we all deserve a rest! It'll be posted on here, Facebook and of course in the newseltter mailout on Boxing Day night, so I strongly suggest saving eveything you wish for in your favourites, and heading through checkout as soon as the discount code is active - our sales are excersises in insanity and the poor website groans under the influx of cyber traffic. It's first in, best dressed!*