Right. Christmas. Two and a half weeks away. Peter returns to Oz in five days. There is a need to get some shopping done. I better get moving. I tallied up up the number of gifts that needed to be bought. The focus being on children. We've got Tom, Charlotte, Ben, Georgina, Ashyln. There is also a new baby. What's her name again? Some bizarre new-age creation. Then there is Josh, Harry, Ned, Nicholas, Christopher. There is at least one other. Maybe more. I better ring my Mum to check. My extended family breed like rabbits. Every Christmas there seems to be more and more of them. I will focus on the adults tomorrow. Perhaps I will buy them condoms. Vasectomy gift cards for the men folk.
I was admonished last year for just giving the kids money. I was chastised. The kids seemed to love it actually but the adults thought it was uncreative. I live overseas and travel a lot. Why didn't I bring them something that they couldn't get in Australia? Didn't I care? Didn't I love them? What the fuck? That's a lot of pressure. I have enough in my life. I played the Nepalese card a couple of years ago. There was a Yak blanket giving frenzy. Tibetan singing bowls too. Pashmina scarves. Stone carvings. I can't repeat that gig unfortunately.
I don't think any of these children actually believe in Santa Claus anymore. I may have let that one slip last Christmas. While the Turkey was being carved up. I recall a couple of tears being spilt. Some wails of "Mummy". I told my nephews that the only reason that Santa was so jolly too was that he knows where all the bad girls live. They liked that. Their parents not so much. Naughty Uncle Peter.
Christmas you children is not a date. It is a state of mind.
Anyway. It is what it is. There are clearly expectations of me. With this gift thing. So I got up early this morning. I launched myself into the nightmare that is Christmas shopping. I plunged myself into toy shops. I plowed into electronics stores. I sought and bought stuff that I thought was Singaporean. It was a tough slog. I had a break after an hour or so. I grabbed a coffee in Starbucks. A double shot vanilla latte. Grande. I needed the caffeine. The store was playing a continuous loop of two Christmas songs. Just two. Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer and Noel Noel. It drove me mad. After only 15 minutes.
I asked one of the waitresses whether it was driving her mad too. Listening to it all day. She stared at me in a blank fashion.
This is common in Singapore.
She was obviously mad already.
As mad as a cut snake.
Madness is sometimes an appropriate response to reality in Singapore. Particularly at this time of year.
The dreadful thing about Christmas is that it is compulsory. Like a viscous thunderstorm it is something that we all have to go through together. I think the religious spirituality of the event is mostly lost. In the Western world it is all about consumerism. It's probably a good thing actually. I think in Singapore there would be a struggle to rustle up three wise men and a virgin for the occasion. A real struggle. I don't enjoy the shopping aspect of it at all. I hate it. In Singapore at this time of year it is a contact sport. It is a scrimmage. The crowds are noisy. They move sluggishly. There is a danger in being trampled to death. There is no ecstasy for me in any purchase that I make.
I know a lot of people are doing it hard this year. The global financial crisis still rages. Perhaps I should just give notes to the adults rather than gifts? Hand written. Money's scarce. Times are hard. Here's your fucking Christmas card. It is much easier to feel more spiritual with a little money in your pocket. The morbid in me thinks that the ultimate Christmas stocking stuffer would be a severed foot. I wonder how that would go down?
I know I sound a bit down about Christmas. A tad bah humbug. I am not really. It is just the lead up to it and the shopping that pisses me off. I actually quite like Christmas day itself.
I think we should do it every year.