Time to put a bow on this year, no matter how you decide to package it

Christmas lights are appearing in yards, trees are being decorated and Michael Buble and Mariah Carey are back on the airwaves … It’s beginning to feel a bit like Christmas, writes Rebecca Levingston

Nov 25, 2020, updated Nov 25, 2020

I bought a Christmas jumper.

A Christmas sweater? Is that what they’re called in the northern hemisphere?

It’s like a knitted trifle. Reindeer, love hearts, snowflakes, silver sequins plus the words holly and jolly smashed together like jelly, fruit and cream.

I think it’s a cry for help. Maybe not a cry, just an out of tune Christmas carol I’m humming because I want to put a bow on the year 2020. Let’s wrap this thing up.

The gifts are already starting to arrive. The vaccine is coming, the borders are reopening, Donald Trump is kinda conceding. Santa’s going to need a lot of wrapping paper this year.

I know so many people who’ve already put up their trees. Yes, it’s November but it’s 2020 so you’re allowed to crack open the box of decorations and hang that bauble with sentimental value even though it’s ugly. Put them up. We need some joy.

Christmas lights are appearing in front yards. I’m hearing Mariah Carey and Michael Buble at the shops and I’m not mad about it. Also, I just realised that Buble is only one letter away from bauble and I find that rather amusing. This is where my head is at.

Maybe it’s because the world is serving up the absurd. I’m looking for a bit of silly.

Funnily I flicked through a copy of a book my mum is reading right now called Silliness: A Serious History. Author Peter Timms begins by confessing he came up with the idea of writing about silliness because he misread the title of another book In Praise of Stillness. He thought it said In Praise of Silliness.

Here’s my favourite piece of internet silly right now that will make me giggle as I go Christmas food shopping …

It seems silly, but this week I drove past a truck selling “real” Christmas trees and was tempted to pull over and whack one on the top of my car like I was a character in some terribly cheesy movie. One year when I was kid we had a “real” pine tree in our lounge room that wilted before the 25th and then dropped all its needles on to the floor. We still loved it.

Christmas can be complicated. Christmas can be cruel.

Last week I interviewed a mum who’s little boy passed away the day after we spoke. I will think of her every day this December as the world jingles, yet her joy has been stolen. I can’t quite fathom how catastrophic life can be sometimes.

Today my colleague’s brother is having brain surgery. Tonight my friend is in hospital with her little one connected to tubes and machines. I want them all home for Christmas. That’s my wish.

I haven’t written a letter to the guy in the red suit for years, but maybe I will send a wish list this year…

Dear Santa,

Please let me not drink wine before midday on Christmas Day.

Please give me a bowl of perfectly sweet cherries to share with friends so that as we eat them we can exclaim “How good are cherries?” every time we pop one in our mouths.

Please let me give presents that convey love like the time my dad wrapped up a hose reel and a packet of cheese and onion chips for me and my brother.

Please never let me take health and freedom for granted.

Please fill in a COVID-safe form before you cross the border into Australia.

Even better, please bring us all a COVID-19 vaccine.


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