As the year hurtles towards the close and we rocket towards the Solstice, Christmas and the New Year, I find that this blog has been sorely neglected, as time has been slipping through my fingers at an alarming rate.
I have been working long hours in the studio making work for the Off Centre for the Christmas shopping madness, which has been quite mad. I often wonder why people don’t buy random gifts for their loved ones all through the year rather than just a huge splurge at Christmas?
The pressure on me has been quite intense and I know I am not alone, as I have watched potter friends work furiously to capture their share of the Christmas market. Maybe I will be better prepared next year for the Christmas rush or maybe I will opt out of the commercial cycle totally and take next December off in protest.
Now that I have planted that seed in my own brain by letting the treacherous anti-commercial sentiment of those words drip onto the page, I find I quite like the idea.
When my children were small I drummed into their heads that Christmas was a time for family and food, not bucket loads of gifts. I could never quite convince my relatives to come around to my way of thinking and each year I would be given a gift with the disclaimer, “We know you don’t do presents Kim, but …” and I would then feel guilty that I didn’t have a gift to give the giver. It wasn’t that I didn’t do presents, it was that I found the whole commercial aspect of Christmas obscene. The shilling of the merchants, the pressure to conform, the lack of money combined with the impossibility of ever meeting anyone’s expectations, all conspired to make me dread December, whilst looking forward tremendously to the actual day.
I would do small things to try and make Christmas special for my children. I would fill their bedrooms up with balloons on Christmas Eve. I would prepare red jelly and ice-cream, or chocolate mud cake for breakfast and I would try very hard to give the children the gifts that I knew they wanted. And then I would turn the music up, crack a beer and cook up a storm.
This will be our fourth Christmas without Mum and I am getting better at it. I even bought some new decorations for the tree in November with full intentions of having a Christmas tree this year. But I just couldn’t muster the energy required to nag, “The Spouse” into cutting down a pine tree, all the while ignoring his grumbling about the mess a tree makes. And so I gave the decorations to the grand children and watched them hang the shiny plastic baubles onto Veronica’s shiny plastic tree. Maybe next year I will do a tree. Maybe.
But even as I miss my mum and even as my annoyance with the commerciality of Christmas grows, I find I am looking forward to the day itself. I am looking forward to eating our traditional Christmas lunch of sushi, salads and smoked salmon, with a wheel of South cape brie and Mount Gnomon Ham. I am looking forward to having a barbecue and eating pavlova, playing Christmas cricket and feeding my over excited grandchildren red lollies and fizzy cordial.
I have deprived my son of bacon all year, hammering him relentlessly with my, No I will not buy bacon made from tortured pigs message, that David is now quite delirious with anticipatory excitement because I let slip that his Christmas gift from me this year was a kilo of Mount Gnomon Bacon.
All I have to do at the moment to make my son smile is whisper to him, “nom nom Bacon” and his smile manages to make me smile in return.