Hark the Herald Angels sing

Gerard Oosterman

 

You can always tell Christmas is near when flies are getting sticky and Bogong moths congregate inside churches and wedding venues.. Super markets are stacking their boxes of artificial Christmas trees near the cash registers busy zapping the bar codes with that cheery  electronic till  sound.

You know those trees; when you go through the annual ritual of  screwing the branches onto the stem and this is then fastened and supported on a round weight filled with sand or water.  The water will never nourish the tree though.  When the festivities are over, you do it all in reverse and store it in the cupboard or attic for next year. 

Another sure sign are the  Father Christmases at shopping malls. It seems they are coming earlier and earlier. The moms, or sometimes dads, queue up with the little ones to get the obligatory picture with Santa taken. I spell Santa with a capital S in reverence to him and also to Finland where they are deemed to come from.  Alas, even here the Santa has taken on something lugubriously artificial, even sinister. Have a good look next time. I have not spoken about this before, so please get a little closer to your screen. 

Next time when a little one climbs off Santa’s knee, try and spot well endowed and generous bosoms, showing through quite clearly, and bulging through the layers of the regal red costume. Even if these Santas are bra wearing males, how about their female voices though?  Are they the last of the castrati masquerading as Santas? Not likely?

I prefer the first option. They are nothing but women Santas. So, has it come to this now? Have our suspicions of the rapacious male now infiltrated the domain of our beloved and dear Santa? 

How could society have imposed this on the vulnerable young?  Is our fear of males and devious behaviour now so finely honed by the social engineers to accept female Santas, and do away with the male Santa?  How can the bonhomie of Santa’s ho., ho, ho be credible coming from a high pitched voice? 

We know that from Ireland to Tasmania and from Canada to Bathurst, the bishops and priests have been only too keen in queuing up to apologize for their scandalous behaviour.  Not a day goes past and someone of the cloth dressed up as priest, clergy or a bishop is charged with sometimes hundreds of counts of misconduct. The higher and more prestigious the institution or school , the more the likelihood of a scandal erupting at any time. 

Even so, the installing of female Santas at shopping centres is ridiculous. There is nothing wrong for women breaking through glass ceilings, but The Santa job has always been male.  I believe the male Santas are chagrined, some even enraged. My mother was brought up in an orphanage run by nuns, having lost her parents at an early age, and she had some horror stories about their peculiar habits as well.  ;) The political correctness has gone to extreme and has now so anesthetized our lives that its greyness dominates, and it seems hardly worthwhile to go on. 

Let’s tackle the Christmas tree first.  I remember Christmas with all sound dulled, absorbed by snow, the smell of spruce tree at home and that of my friends, the real candles, held by those metallic clips and my dear old father melting and cooking the sugary fondant pouring it into their forms, baking biscuits and peppery cloved speculaas, which we would all help hanging from the tree. No matter how short the money, Christmas was real and a ‘real spruce tree’ was always the  essence of the festivities. The decorations were home made by us kids and snow was cotton wool, Christmas scenes inside shoeboxes with coloured paper on top for which I would charge my friends a fee to look at. It was all real! 

It would be nice if the plastic tree and garish baubles would make place for something real. Spruce trees don’t grow here and so we might do with something just as good, the humble pine. What’s wrong with a bunch of Christmas Bush or even a branch of Argyle Gum?  At least it will bring the fragrance in our home and is real. The idea of having something trying to look like something which it is not defeats the purpose, surely?  Why have anything that is not real. I feel for the dearly departed on grave yards, with those faded plastic flowers, how awfully disrespectful. I would rather just have weeds, perhaps Serrated Tussock or Paterson’s Curse?  The idea of having plastic flowers inside the home for the living defies description and a hefty fine should have been considered years ago. 

Apart from  male knees being better and more real than female knees for children to sit on at Christmas time my only other wish would be to rein in not just reindeer but also the’ over the top’ excessive waste during the festivities. At no stage does so much get chucked out then during those festive days. Entire hams, turkeys, tables that are groaning under loaves of bread, boxes of prawns, French champagne, tonnes of marzipan, acres of paper wrappings, it all gets chucked out. It must run into the hundreds of millions. A shopping list  divided by a third and you probably still end up with too much. 

Try also not to break into a gallop or trot during the last couple of days. Each year it seems people, pre- Christmas, start running at shopping centres. Faces are contorted and kids get smacked. A type of mania and herd instinct takes over. Wallets are being turned out in reckless abandonment and emptied in a frenzy of shopping addiction. Don’t fall for it.

Save some, and just buy a real Christmas tree.

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