Against all odds, I finally got the Christmas spirit. I went to the shops yesterday to get a few things to tide me over for the weekend and everyone was so damn cheerful. People still say ‘Merry Christmas!’ in Australia (instead of the more PC ‘Happy Holidays’) and every single person who served me in the shops said it to me as I left. At the last store I went to, I stood next to a girl who was so excited about Christmas that she had to share. Non-stop. She looked to be about 12 or 13, and had an open but halting way to her speech. Like she was quite aware that she was talking to grown ups and had to be as grown up as possible. She was tall, thin and pale, with red hair pulled back in a single ponytail. She was wearing a kind of offbeat long skirt, and I thought that she must be one of those really bright kids – the kind that play violin, get excited about reading Madame Bovary and write earnest stories for the school newspaper that no one ever reads – who never really fit in with their classmates. We chatted about the odds of her father letting her skip her assigned chore (washing the floor) because it was Christmas, and we concluded that she’d probably have to sacrifice a present to seal the deal. Not worth it. She just exuded such joy about Christmas, not because of what she was getting but because IT WAS CHRISTMAS!, that I couldn’t help but catch some of her enthusiasm.
On the way home I stopped to buy a little tiny live Christmas tree, but the $70 price tag stopped me cold. I was pretty sure I could feel just as Christmasy if I pulled my little tiny fake Christmas tree out of the last of the unpacked moving boxes. And I was right. When I got home I popped A Charlie Brown Christmas on iTunes, pulled out the tree and put all my favourite decorations on the it. Last year I had this tree to try and maintain some semblance of normalcy. This year it’s all about celebrating the specialness of Christmas, my wonderful family and the life that I am lucky to have.
So Merry Christmas internets! I hope you have a wonderful day, no matter where you are or who you are with. Even, and most especially, if it is just you.