Christmas is Weird

by Vicki Nunn

“Christmas is weird – what other time of year do you sit in front of a dead tree, eating candy out of a sock?”

[unknown author]

When I read that humorous quote I thought, how true it is that Christmas can be a really weird time of year. On what other morning, such as on Christmas day, in preparation for the dreaded lunch, can you imagine several million people across the world, willingly sticking their hands up a dead bird’s bottom, stuffing it with something you would never eat on its own?

Now while the words ‘dreaded’ and ‘Christmas lunch’ may not go hand in hand for everybody, the fact is that for probably half of the population, it can be an uncom-fortable, tedious and sometimes hideously awful time. For couples, the chances of having a terrible Christmas double as they oftentimes have to juggle functions with two very different in-law families, who usually put pressure on them to attend their own obviously more important festivities, in preference to the other family. I shudder to imagine
the results when alcohol is thrown in.

For some families the horrors of Christmas extends into gift-giving. In fact, I can recall the year I received five boxes of chocolates, four of which were identical. Obviously the supermarket had been having a big sale on chocolates just before Christmas.

While we’re on the subject of unimaginative gifts, at what other time is it more evident that your family or partner is so completely clueless about you? If I put together every single candle I’ve received in the past decade, I’d need the local fire brigade on standby if I decide to light them all at once.

When I was growing up, we girls were told that it was bad manners to throw away gifts, no matter how revolting or tacky they were. Even now, I may have a gift or two floating around on a dusty shelf somewhere, out of a sense of obligation. I’m hoping that they will accidentally get knocked down and broken, or sucked into an inter-dimensional vortex.

For most of us, Christmas is a test of our personal safe-gift
recognition ability: “Will these Australian flag underwear be too radical for Grandad, and would a lifetime’s supply of cotton buds be overdoing it for Mum?”

Sometimes though, I wonder if certain family members are taking part in an experiment called:

“What is the worst possible gift that I can give that makes it look like I care?”

On several occasions, I’ve been on the receiving end of such atrocious gifts that I had to throw them straight into the bin rather than passing them onto a local charity – they were too horrendous to inflict on an unprepared and unsuspecting public through their charity store.

I reflect on the possibility sometimes that certain family members are simply having fun at my expense, and enjoying the look on my face as I struggle to pretend that their gift is precisely what I was hoping for:

“Yes, I will take great delight in spraying myself liberally from the industrial sized bottle of “Eau de Wheelie-Bin.” Thank you cousin Edwina.”