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It's the season to be bickering, says Kate

Image & Article Source: News.com.au

Read Kate Langbroek's inspiring new Sunday Style article about the joy she will experience this Christmas... it's not the presents!


"OH, FESTIVE fellows! The glorious Yuletide is nearly upon us, the season of mangoes, berries and ham-in-a-pillowcase, of tipsy aunties in the morning, of whipped cream and possibly-turkey-but-most-likely-prawns-and-lobster, and the exchanging of gifts.

Holy moly, the gifts! For Christmas is not a time when your presence is the present. It is a time of gift-giving that some have elevated to an extreme sport and, to be honest, I’m not overly rapt with that aspect of it.

It’s kind of summed up in that classic Christmas poem, really:

’Twas the night before Christmas,

And all through the house,

A married couple stood bickering,

At the foot of their sleeping children’s beds,

About the fact they were getting too many presents,

And that it wasn’t necessary.

And the husband,

Who’s tired and built toys from scratch,

And secretly dragged a basketball hoop from behind the house

Where it had been stashed,

Gets slightly annoyed and, knowing his wife grew up not celebrating Christmas, says,

“This is how it is done.”

And his wife says,

“Why can’t they just get one BIG present?

“Why do they have to get 10 other presents on their beds, as well?

“It’s too much plastic and rubbish and landfill,

“And they’re only children!”

And the husband,

Who secretly, deep down, has a feeling that what his wife is saying is at least partly true,

Calls her a “Grinch”,

Which doesn’t go down well, because she’s similarly exhausted,

From shopping and cooking and wrapping – the FREAKIN’ wrapping!

And she’s so tired that her back aches and it just seems weird to her,

As she gets a cotton wool roll and drapes remnants of Santa’s beard

Over the front porch,

And scatters chewed-up carrots from the reindeer,

And puts out a glass of beer,

And some homemade Christmas shortbread,

And painstakingly (trying to disguise her handwriting)

Writes a note from St Nick,

Complimenting the children on how good they’ve been all year and

Thanking them for the refreshments,

And… where was I?

Oh, yes… it seems weird

That people freak out about their children being taught about God,

And yet they go to incredible lengths to lie to the same children about where the presents come from.

And the most peculiar thing about that is that,

Aside from actually lying to their children,

It means the parents never get the credit for the Thought and the Expense and the Effort involved in making Christmas Day so magical.

So, mindful of the wisdom contained in that very wise Yuletide verse, this December 25, I will be concentrating on the things I have learned to love the most:

The food. The generosity. The cheer. The gathering. Music and mirth and laughter. The blessed holiday. Remembering those who are no longer with us. Rejoicing in the little ones that will be here long after us. The fact that we can all come together in peace and plenty, and freedom.

There will be presents, for sure. But no matter how extravagant or plentiful, they are not the greatest of Christmas gifts.

So, thank you, Santa.

Thank you for stopping by our house.

I love you."

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