Thursday, November 17, 2011

'Tis the season to just say no...

It's that time of year. The jolly, social, let's be merry, wear silly earrings and exchange-cheap-Kris-Kringle-gifts time of year. The time of year that is upon us before we know it, yet streaks past in a cacophony of carols and disappears into the new year with a fizz of fireworks, leaving behind dead Christmas trees on the nature strip, empty bottles of Yellowglen in the recycling bin, forgotten leftover turkey and ham at the bottom of the fridge and brown pine needles in the carpet. 

We complain about tinsel and cheap Christmas lights in the supermarkets in August. And the annual September uproar when department stores setup their Christmas 'shops' makes the newspapers and fills the letters-to-editor pages. I for one need the reminder that Christmas is approaching again so I can plan my list of gifts, food and shopping. Imagine if stores didn't drape the trinkets and pipe the carols until December? We'd be frantically running through the shopping temples, armsful of nose-trimmers, gift vouchers and personalised socks shrieking "Can you believe it's 3 weeks until Christmas?!! Who is responsible for this? WHY DID NO-ONE WARN US??!!!" Well, be warned. You have retail to thank for that.

It's the time of year for celebration of the end of things, namely; work, school, kinder and a successful/dismal sporting season. It's 'function' season: office parties, 'leaving' drinks (the new year is popular timing for a new career), drinks for your clients and their drinks for you, school concerts, ballet/piano/scouts concerts, random friend Christmas parties, street parties, neighbourly BBQ's, early Christmas dinners for the side of the family you won't see Christmas day, mother's group picnics, social club events and 'bagsing' a spot by the Yarra for a BBQ.

Throw in a few weddings, engagements, the usual birthday parties, queueing in crowded shops for overpriced pictures with a skinny Santa, council 'Carols in the local Park' and roaming around the neighbourhood for the local scout group selling Christmas trees (and the associated untangling of christmas lights) and the calendar is definitely starting to look uncomfortably busy.

For good measure, and because the whole nation seems to be on holidays from Christmas until early February when the kids go back to school, throw in a few appointments you have been meaning to make but now have to rush. Like the dentist, vet, hairdresser, wax, plumber, car goes on. The diary is waving the white flag. And you haven't even begun to make the fruit cake or plan who's going to queue for the prawns at the market on Christmas Eve morning.

Ergo, I have found myself saying no. Not to everything, mind, but to some. When I found myself getting whiplash double checking my double bookings and subconsciously littering innocent carols delivered benignly over the supermarket PA with f-words, it became evident that I needed to choose my presence or my sanity. My presence is not mandatory. My sanity is.

I apologise for not making it to your party. Have a champagne for me! I'm sure the engagement party will be a cracker - congratulations! And text me about the goss from the office party for the shamefile. I just couldn't make it this year.

So as you wend your way through the madness, mayhem, merriment and magic of the silly season, make sure you take heed. Don't drink too much. Don't spend too much. Drive safely and shop local. And take time to look after yourself by occasionally saying 'no'.

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