sarah walton

‘Bah Humbug’: Bye, Bye Christmas, Hello Suntan

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I hate this time of year.

I’m perpetually hung over. At the snippets of time when I’m not, I’m drinking someone’s hideous party wine and eating god-awful canapes. My diet consists entirely of smoked salmon blinis, cold garlic prawns, hummus and mince pies. Ugh. Who on earth invented mince pies? And does anyone at all actually like to eat them? For some reason, it’s also the time of year when people seem to think it’s OK to have Champagne for breakfast. I’d be all for that if I wasn’t, as previously mentioned, perpetually hung over.

I get up, I harangue the kids into clothes and breakfast into kids. Because despite all the partying, life goes on. I drive them to school. I get home. I pay off my credit card again. I drink coffee and prop my eyes open with toothpicks. Then I drink more coffee. I’m at an event for lunch, I decorate a school hall, I attend a class play date in the park. The kids want to put up the Christmas tree. They need to go to Dragonmart for all manner of strobing environmental destroyers to drape around the garden. I arrive home all aflurry, and let them eat junk food again, because I need to go out for dinner. I haven’t been in my kitchen for longer than it takes to burn a piece of toast in three weeks. I’m out weekdays, weeknights, breakfasts, brunches and suppers. I fall into bed at 2 am to wake up at 6 and do it all again the next day.

When I get a break in the socializing, I spend the time apologizing to all those I’ve had to stand up or pass over. I have a night off. I fall asleep in front of a 6-week old episode of Homeland, and wake up with a mouth full of dog hair, a crick in my neck and my ear in a puddle of drool on the sofa – dog’s or mine, I have no idea. He’s become clingy because I never see him, and started to give off this weird musky scent. I think he’s scared he’s going to lose me and is giving off mating pheromones in some vain effort to woo me back.

And then, to top it all off, it will climax with a home cooked dinner that is expected to rival Babette’s feast. And being a blogger who tends to talk a fair bit about food, the responsibility always gets passed to me. They say they are too scared to cook for me. Bah! Scared I’m going to review them badly or spank them, I have no idea. The truth behind it is I would happily just eat a bacon sarnie on the 25th so long as someone else cooks it.

If it’s in Dubai, then I cook for 25 orphan expats. If I go to Melbourne, I cook for all the family, who manage to all finally get themselves in the same room together because nobody wants to miss out on seeing the Waltons. Even the ones I haven’t seen in years. I wonder why they didn’t seem to value my presence so much when I lived around the corner from them. Absence makes the heart grow fonder, true – and I’d probably appreciate it if I wasn’t so bloody tired. Either place, I fall in a heap at the end of the day, and barely rise until the following year. New Years eve has been a total write-off for as long as I’ve had progeny. I’m still recovering from the noel, and in such a bad mood, that if I try and write any resolutions, they’re probably going to look a little more like a hit-list, interposed with unattainable quests like giving up sugar and alcohol.

I’ve escaped it once. A blisful day at Brunch, where someone else cleaned the lobster, set the table, entertained the kids, carved the turkey, supervised the drunks and cleaned up all the mess. This year I was silly enough not to book it far enough in advance, so I’m escaping to Sri Lanka, where the only turkeys you’ll find drive tuk-tuks, and I can get drunk on the sound of the surf. If Santa gives me a suntan, that will be the best present ever. I wonder how I’ll cope in a world without Christmas? I’m hoping the old adage will work in its favour, and after a season without the silliness, I’ll come back home craving it.

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