‘Why I’m so exhausted by the time Christmas arrives’

Dec 01, 2019
"The old folk here sink into their armchairs, back to normal suburban stupor.," writes Julie. Source: Stock Photo/Getty Images

“Christmas is coming, the geese are getting fat …” Ye olden nursery rhymes. Yes, Christmas is fast upon us. Being a good Christmas elf, by the end of June on an annual basis, I have the Christmas shopping half-completed.

Taking after the mothers of the Baby Boomer women, we all choose thoughtful, age appropriate and, hopefully, pleasing gifts for each individual. We buy presents especially for any grandchildren in the families as Christmas is for kids. It is a real delight when you see the grandchildren all enjoy their gifts. Sometimes, this old Buddy, the good Elf, does wonder if we spoil them too much or whether we are buying them toys we wish we had at that age. But what the heck, they’re only young once. Children grow up too quickly, particularly in their millennial digital age.

I am regarded as Buddy, the good Christmas Elf. I even feel the need to purchase and wrap thoughtful, individual presents for fur friends. Women of Australia at this time of year order in huge amounts of festive foods, according to their traditional backgrounds. After the gifts are wrapped in decorative paper or foil, we hope we do not run out of gift tags. All the Christmas cards are written, received and reciprocated, details attended to by good Christmas elves.

Finally, Christmas Day dawns. The jolly fat guy in the red suit, looking slightly choleric, has achieved the sleigh magic gift-giving trick. Now Santa is checking his little black book. He knows who is nice and who is naughty, so he has left Mrs Claus at the North Pole and is off to get something nice for Santa, from some of those naughty girls. Well, that is Santa’s after Christmas wish list.

Meanwhile, back in suburbia, this little Buddy, the Christmas elf, along with all the other good Christmas elves, are picking up all the discarded wrapping paper and starting their own magic of Christmas celebrations.

Here, we have taken to eating Christmas brunch, for assorted family offspring, grandchildren and even dogs. Thus, Buddy the Elf has three frying pans, a kettle, a toaster and waffles in the oven all at once. Sing along, Christmas elves. We are “Short order cooks in an all day café …” Coordination and timing are everything. What the heck!

Plates washed, now for the Christmas elves to dish up celebration lunch, with a smile. We learn again why we only see some family members once per year. Still this is day of peace. Good Christmas elves are pacifists, we take happy, snappy photos, a Facebook fave, trying to make people smile.

Yes, this is Christmas. We hope for fat wallets and slim figures, well, really. Good luck on that one, good Christmas elves. More unexpected visitors, more mince pies, more shortbread. Lovely! Buddy the Elf is well prepared, providing a couple of generic well-wrapped emergency gifts.

Good Christmas elves wash more dishes, pick up more wrapping paper, store heaps of leftovers in a bulging fridge for Boxing Day. Buddy the Elf bids a fond (!) farewell to Christmas guests, including dogs, biting her tongue. Very hard not to channel my grandfather, “Thanks for coming, thanks for going!”

Buddy the Elf sparkles amid the by now tired decorations, a tree slightly askew. A day of peace in suburbia, we hope to have a day of peace in Australia and the rest of the world. A day of giving and receiving, and we were all good Christmas elves. A woman has to do what a woman has to do.

The old folk here sink into their armchairs, back to normal suburban stupor. I must say my nanna was also a classic. “Peace, perfect peace, and loved ones far away …” sighs Buddy, the good Christmas Elf.

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Do you feel like this writer does? What's the lead up to Christmas like for you?

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