It’s starting to feel a lot like…

As Gummo pointed out, the onset of Santa-bothering Season in the tabloids is a sure sign that the festive season has crept up on us. It’s probably only us political junkies, but for me at least the rhythm of the year was somewhat disrupted by the lateness and excessive length of the election campaign, and I’ve only just realised that it’s time to buy pressies and stuff and (today) Advent candles and plan liturgical puddings (!)…

One thing I did notice, and whether or not it coincided with the beginning of Advent or not is a matter for speculation, but a sort of festive season arch thingy appeared in Albert St on Monday. I’m assuming it was something that the Queen Street Mall business mob put up, since friends of mine who work for Council know nothing of it. It’s appropriately faith non-specific, and it’s interesting to note, just quietly, that it’s almost always business groups not the dreaded Maoist teachers or socialistic councils who do the “kill Xmas for multiculti thing”. The Queensland Parliament, for instance, has a Christmas tree… though my own opinion is that it’s a perfectly silly debate all round and I’m more than happy for celebratory gestures both religious and non-religious at this time of year… the fact that we’ve all survived another year (I hope) more or less intact if a little older and (again I hope) wiser is reason enough to make happy, I reckon.

Anyway, I thought we could do with an open thread both celebrating and condemning any aspects of the festive season. One thing I’m really chuffed about is the excellent Aerial Angels programme of performances in the Queen Street Mall – I really enjoyed Cirque du Moulin on Monday – much more fun than a Xmas parade in my book (which unlike Sydney and Perth, I don’t believe we are having here in Brisbane). I’ve got some photos of the circus posted here – as usual, click on full view inside the gallery to see a high res image. In the meantime, what do you like or hate about this time of year? Or what leaves you indifferent? Here’s your chance to share…

http://phenomenologist.deviantart.com/art/Peace-Love-Joy-71248236

http://phenomenologist.deviantart.com/art/A-very-parliamentary-Christmas-71247688

http://phenomenologist.deviantart.com/art/At-the-circus-XII-71404734

NB: This post is in the “levity” category – arguments and stoushing strictly prohibited and offending comments will be deleted without warning.

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Posted in culture, federal election '07, fun, life, religion, sociology
29 comments on “It’s starting to feel a lot like…
  1. Sam Clifford says:

    “Peace, Love, Joy” is something which should be left up all year ’round to remind us that we should be good towards each other 12 months of the year, not one month of the year.

  2. Tony D says:

    Christmas carol muzak is teh tool of teh devil!

  3. Shaun says:

    I used to think the same way Tony. Now that I have a little one, I’ve been exploring Christimas carols on the guitar. Hope to put a few recordings online over the next few weeks.

  4. Paul Burns says:

    I think the Xmas parade was a JWH initiative. Maybe he wanted to appear as Santa at the head of the parade.
    Xmas lights are up in Armidale (I think;I don’t take much notice of these things.)They used to call it something or other, but changed it to something else. The price of fruit-cake, now called Xmas Cake has gone up in the suoermarkets, to trap the unwary buyer, and pay for the pretty paper, I suppose.
    My grocery bill will go up because I’ll pig out on stone fruit. I ordered four books on the American Revolution yesterday, but they probably won’t come till after Xmas, which is probably a good thing, as I have some book reviews to work on over Xmas.
    Not being very religious or surrounded by ankle-biters, Xmas doesn’t mean much to me. I’ll rent some DVDs to avoid all the Xmas shows. But I’m not a grich. I always wish my Xtan friends Happy Xmas, Jewish friends, Happy Hanakah and my one Muslim friend Happy Eid (though that’s past.)
    I don’t wish my bhuddist, atheist and agnostic friends anything, in casse I offend them. Instead I take them to the pub for a beer and don’t tell them why, though some of them have sort of worked out what I’m doing by now.
    My ex-girlfriend will probably visit on Xmas Day with heaps of booze. She hasn’t missed a Xmas since we broke up 5 years ago.
    So to all of you, for the first and last time this year, Seasons Greetings.

  5. Darlene says:

    “…that it’s almost always business groups not the dreaded Maoist teachers or socialistic councils who do the “kill Xmas for multiculti thing”. The Queensland Parliament, for instance, has a Christmas tree… though my own opinion is that it’s a perfectly silly debate all round and I’m more than happy for celebratory gestures both religious and non-religious at this time of year… the fact that we’ve all survived another year (I hope) more or less intact if a little older and (again I hope) wiser is reason enough to make happy, I reckon.”

    So true about the business groups. It is a good time to take stock of things at this time of the year. My mum is recovering from stomach cancer (that got it early) so that’s a special reason to feel blessed. Like the colourful decorations and the sense of charity and giving. Hate the usual things like consumerism and people getting drunk and acting like galahs.

    I think I will take some Melbourne Christmas pics.

    Nice post, by the way.

  6. Guy says:

    There’s some quite festive lighting running up and down Oxford Street in London at the moment. There’s certainly a heavy dose of purple, so methinks most LPers would appreciate it.

    Puts Sydney to shame, but one somewhat unfestively does wonder what the electricity/carbon bill will amount to at the end of the day.

  7. These decorations traditionally make people seeth with rage even before the relatives arrive.

    http://perthworst.wordpress.com/2007/11/20/yule-pay-for-this/

  8. j_p_z says:

    “people getting drunk and acting like galahs.”

    That’s a great-sounding word, ‘galah.’ I get the general idea from context, but is there a specificity to its meaning/usage?

  9. joe2 says:

    Here you go jpz. Look down the end of the article …did you know?
    http://www.australianfauna.com/galah.php

  10. Agree with Tony D.

    Definitely the songs.

  11. Greg says:

    Central Station took to playing classical music over its p.a. system in the waiting areas (the platforms remain music-free), which I took to be one of those initiatives to drive off the loiterers, but it’s been replaced, for now, with butchered carols recordings. Maybe it’s the acoustics. Funny, but as a transplant from a northern snowy region, xmas decorations always look wrong in high summer, like St. Nick in board shorts.

  12. mbahnisch says:

    Thanks, Darlene.

    Glad to hear your mum’s on the road to recovery.

  13. Klaus K says:

    I love ‘A Christmas Gift for You from Phil Spector’, especially the three Ronettes tracks. Perhaps the only Christmas music I really enjoy.

    This year we’re doing Christmas eve in the Central American style – staying up and partying, opening presents at midnight. Coupled with Christmas day with my family, it means several days in a blur of good food and booze. Certainly worth celebrating.

  14. David Rubie says:

    I do like the feeling of winding up the year. Today was nearly my favourite bit – the annual presentation ceremony at the kids school. Tony Windsor made an appearance which was a bit of a surprise (normally we get the local NSW member whose wife works at the school).

    I have to admit I’ve gone off a bit on the annual relly-fest that was a feature of our lives up to a couple of years ago. The old man, who should have been enjoying the fruits of his dotage and being surrounded by family, decided he’d had enough (must be 18 months ago) and left mum alone. He’s now apparently shacked up with some old tart in Warwick. I gave him a (strangely unsatisfying), expletive laden spray on the phone after he did it, but Christmas and family now mean very different things to me (to be fair, mum is now shacked up with some bloke she knew at school in the 1950s).

    I find myself making plenty of excuses not to go there at Christmas now. Three kids in the car, hot weather, too many people etc. A quiet christmas at home is our plan. Will have to do some driving before christmas to see mum briefly, but that’s a small price to pay.

    We have a proper fireplace built by me during renovations this year in our little cottage and it looks very christmassy indeed with her indoors naif wooden decorations and some involved christmas stockings. I hope I won’t need to light the fire (it wasn’t exactly warm here last year), but it looks like a TV christmas so the kids are happy.

    I like watching the kids decorate the tree too, although the baby just tried to eat the decorations. Next year she’ll be walking and will be able to participate properly.

    Children reading: look away now. I like doing the Santa thing and guzzling a warm beer at 1:00am, followed by a biscuit. It sounds disgusting but who doesn’t want to be Santa?
    Must remember to leave more crumbs this year, and write the notes with my left hand as the eldest child is getting suspicious.

    What I don’t like: shopping. I hate it normally, but around Christmas it’s dreadful even sneaking out to get a few beers. Everything is busy, all the time. Armidale has a new mall that was finished in November and it’s as depressing as any suburban mall in any city in any country in the world. It’s filled with a plethora of shops chockas with useless tat we could already obtain, for the same price, in the other shops here.

    Darlene – I hope your mother continues her recovery and I’d like to extend a nice happy christmas to the fine population of LP who continue to amuse, inform and delight me.

  15. mbahnisch says:

    And likewise to you, David!

  16. Pollytickedofff says:

    “I like watching the kids decorate the tree too, although the baby just tried to eat the decorations. Next year she’ll be walking and will be able to participate properly”

    Yep, by pulling the whole tree apart 🙂

    I’m doing the usual family get together at my mum’s in Orange. Four generations of family including ex-in-laws and step-children and sister-in-laws parents. We only do presents for the kids (and my mum) because there are simply too many of us!

    Boxing day we pack up the leftovers and head out somewhere for a picnic.

    The rest of the days up to and including New Year’s Eve are spent celebrating birthdays. By that time I’ve had enough birthday cake to not want any for the rest of the year 🙂

  17. mbahnisch says:

    So there can be a limit to how much cake is desirable! Say it isn’t so! 😉

  18. Pollytickedofff says:

    Well, I must admit after the last birthday cake there’s only a couple of hours of the year left 🙂

  19. j_p_z says:

    Oddly enough, my favorite Christmas song was written by… Edgar Allan Poe!

    No, I’m serious. It’s not really a Christmas carol, strictly, just rollicking, fun, wintery-themed music. “Hear the Sledges With the Bells!” is actually just the first stanza of Poe’s long lovely poem “The Bells,” and it was set to music with an incredibly sprightly, fun-to-sing air. The best version I know of was recorded by The Mormon Tabernacle Choir; if you can find it, it’s worth the effort to track down. And if you can memorize the whole thing, it’s really a blast to sing. (Probably feels kind of out of season in the antipodes, though, sadly enough. But since it’s not religious, just save it up for your actual winter!)

    See, who says I’m not multicultural? My favorite Christmas song was written by a black-hearted drunken madman, and is sung by a bunch of godless Mormons. But then, I also like Bing Crosby doing “Adeste Fideles,” “Christmas in Killarney,” and that wacky Hawai’ian Christmas song (“Meli Keliki-maka”), so I guess I’m just an old brownshirt after all.

  20. The Devil Drink says:

    Christmas, eh? Gather your children and wards around, or if you don’t have any, try and borrow some, and try out a reading of William S. Burroughs’ A Junky’s Christmas.
    It’s a useful gift as well as a thoughtful one: if your kids have to get out of class, they’ll know exactly how to fake gallstones.

  21. Shaun says:

    I can’t believe no has mentioned the yuletide classic by AC/DC, “Mistress for Christmas.” A merry tune, great for a singalong.

  22. tyro rex says:

    Xmas day and Easter mornings I always play Handel’s Messiah at top volume just to remind the neighbors what the day off is for. Not that I am actually religious, I just love Handel.

  23. […] December, 2007 by penguinunearthed Mark Bahnisch in Larvatus Prodeo has a post celebrating the start of the festive season (for political junkies, who had to get the election out […]

  24. Katz says:

    The ingathering of my siblings’ in-laws always reminds me of the true meaning of Xmas, which was to serve as a prototype for Seinfeld’s Costanzas’ Festivus.

    And yes, the blessed feast occasionally does conclude with feats of strength.

  25. Pavlov's Cat says:

    My highlights are any good choir singing O Holy Night and/or The Shepherd’s Farewell, Shane McGowan and Kirtsy MacColl singing Fairytale of New York, and the annual ritual of making this.

  26. Jane says:

    I’ll be having Xmas early this year because one of my kids will be working Xmas day. Hopefully, we won’t have to work on my chosen Xmas lunch day, but I guess we’ll have to do dinner instead. Whatever, no doubt there’ll be the usual swearing and cursing by me, because despite threats every year to tone it down and just have a barbie, I’ll still go OTT and miss out on the pre-lunch booze-ups!
    Last year I did a steam boat, but have been reminded of my parental duties by the daughter, so it will be back to tradition this year.
    This will be my 8th Xmas without my father and my 3rd without my mother.
    No matter, we’ll still feast on crayfish cooked on Xmas morning by the husband, prawns and scallops followed by baked ham and roast turkey and various trimmings and last, but not least, a big fat pav with my own strawberries accompanied by indecent amounts of local reds and whites. Then the post-dinner slumber.
    So, to all, a very merry Xmas of your choice and I hope your mum goes from strength-to-strength, Darlene.

  27. MsLaurie says:

    I loooooooove Christmas. Watching carols by candlelight on Christmas Eve, with my parents, brother, my parents’ best friends and their kids, is the best, most peaceful, happy thing.

    Don’t care about the presents, although they are nice, just love that feeling of ‘ahh. relax now’

    I’m all excited that next year Fiance and I will have our own house, and we can buy our own tree – how grown-up I keep thinking! I can’t wait ’til we have little rugrats who will make decorations for the tree – my Mum still has some I made as a kiddie on their tree, although only the nice beaded ones have been kept in circulation – the dodgy kindergarten midshapen snow men are now buried in some random box!

    My other favourite thing is buying a pressie for the wishing tree – it is just fun, and you get that happy “ooh I’m being charitable” glow. I’ve introduced my brownie guide group to the wishing tree thing too, and last week we all trooped down to the local shops and bought pressies for the tree. 🙂 Great stuff.

  28. Shaun says:

    I bit later than I intended but The First Noel for y’all.

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