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The most ‘stressy’ time of year

The eve of December gives me that sick feeling.

On Saturday, I attended an end-of-year do, and on arrival, my good friend said “Merry Christmas”.

The whole room shivered. The first time I’d heard those two words for 2022.

After the words left his lips, he admitted it was the first time he had said them, just to test out how it felt. We both agreed it was weird.

Both of us poked fun at the odd traditions associated with this weird month before he showed off his annual party trick of naming the songs for each number in the Salvation Army carol book – more entertaining than it sounds, but only for the right audience.

Before we even hit December, we’ve been bombarded with this looming holiday.

Last weekend’s events calendar was filled to the brim with Christmas parades and carnivals throughout the country. Santa made all 40 of them and was relieved it was cool enough for his fluffy suit and pot belly in 30-degree heat. We really need to buy that guy some red shorts for the southern hemisphere.

Department stores have displayed crackers, tinsel and decorations since October and played Christmas music. They’re just reminding us that our favourite time of year is coming and to make a head start on Christmas shopping before the sales start.

Whether or not you shopped on “Black Friday”, you would’ve been aware of the ‘deals’ they used to entice us [not that I think they worked].

If we avoid the commercialism of Christmas, can we say it is nice to spend the day with the family? If you like your family, then maybe?

Since August, my mother has been asking what I’m doing for Christmas. What are my plans? What are my partner’s family plans?

I’ve had the same conversation four times with my family, and each time the plans are slightly altered, trying to work around everyone, thus making it much harder to actually plan.

I was given the impression my family would celebrate on Boxing Day so I could fit in both Christmas dinners. I got a call last night saying I don’t have to come to Christmas if I don’t want to. Those words send me into psychological turmoil.

I was once the merriest adult in the months leading up to Christmas. I watched all the classic movies before December had even begun. I’m embarrassed to say this year, I have embodied my favourite character, the Grinch.

If we refused to do anything Christmassy until December 1, it might be easier to stomach this time of year. No tinsel, trees, or Michael Buble until November is truly gone.

I hope that by mid-December, the sick feeling will settle, although I haven’t begun thinking about presents yet, so maybe the sick feeling will go into full bore. Do I buy gifts for everyone? What kind of gift would this family member like, and won’t get thrown in the garbage?

Do I buy something I believe they need or something they will want?

Given inflation, will a can of baked beans and an overpriced Christmas card suffice?

Helen Holt
Helen Holt
Helen Holt is a reporter at the Wairarapa Times-Age and enjoys reporting on a variety of topics, regularly covering Wairarapa events, tourism, local businesses, and the occasional health story.

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