G is for Gone. This year has gone.

The end of the year is fast approaching. Every one in the world is on the steam train headed express to the 31st of December, 2016. I feel like the year is still only beginning and now, all of a sudden, it’s November and we’re a month and nine days out from Christmas. What. the. heck.

Where does all the time go?

Working two jobs, I barely get any time out. I’m not complaining, it keeps me busy. Though I have some days (till 5.30pm) free, I spend most of that time recuperating from my shift the night before.

Thus, I have two settings at the moment: work and pass out/zone out from exhaustion.

All I do is drive, work, eat and sleep. I can’t remember the last time I took some time out to spend time with friends. It’s crazy.

At this time of year, everyone’s getting out the fairy lights, cursing the carols that were playing in the supermarket for getting stuck in their heads, and impulse-buying that lava lamp that was on sale at that quirky little gift shop because Freddy is going through that 70s phase that he’s probably going to leave behind in a month.

Christmas. It happens every year, but yet we still act as though the whole thing has been sprung on us the day before. Is it all an act of avoidance? Or are we all too busy until the last minute?

I have got one thing ready for Christmas. One. And that’s because I made a Christmas present for someone. That’s it. Christmas is just over a month away and I am so ill-prepared, I’m kind of ashamed.

On the first of December, the decorations will come out, and my house will miraculously transform into something that will most probably fall short of a festive wonderland and then sometime between Christmas Day and New Year, all those Santa figurines, the fairy lights and the tinsel will migrate back into the plastic crates and wait patiently for next year’s Christmas to roll around again.

I always used to love decorating the house with Christmas stuff. It was a chance for a place you had become so used to, to completely transform it’s appearance for a month. It started out as a bonding exercise with my Mum – her delegating tasks out to me. As I got older, I started to decorate on my own, but Mum would always have final inspection of the tree before decorating could be granted the label of ‘done’.

The tree was precious to my mother. It signified all of her family traditions and childhood.

Coming from a large German family, she relied heavily on tradition and the coming together of family.

Her parents would decorate the tree in the lounge room on the first of December, and she and her siblings would not be allowed to see it before Christmas morning. It created that magic ambiance of Christmas for the family.

Though I didn’t have an experience like that at Christmas, my mother held tight to her German roots by insisting that our Christmas tree, whether real or fake, must be decorated with authentic German lametta (sort of like their version of tinsel, but they look like individual thin strings of dense aluminium foil). No Christmas was complete for my mother without lametta, as much as I tried to wean her off it.

Now, though, I can’t wait to break out the lametta for the tree. It was something so special to my mother, and now will be a staple of Christmas for me … if only I could find the stuff in our many boxes of ornaments.

Does anyone else feel as though Christmas is a finality? It’s the last nail in the coffin of the year that has sprinted past us – ruffling our hair in its windy wake. Only a handful of days outlive Christmas, before we welcome a new year that also comes barrelling toward us, threatening to knock us down like a bowling ball to pins.

Thus, I will try to hold on to the time that we have left of the year – try to enjoy my birthday and majesty of festivity, because … however much we try to avoid the fact … in 47 days, the year of  2016 will breathe no more.

The Face in the Box

The dust billowed from the box like it had come to life with a dramatic exhale. She coughed as the particles settled on the walls of her windpipe and tried to embed themselves in the shelter of her lungs.

Carols crooned from the archaic cassette player she had considered replacing at least a hundred times. It still worked. Why replace something that worked so well? Nothing in the 21st century was made to last as long. It was a shame, really.

A jolly, and rosy face smiled up at her from the cardboard box at her feet. He seemed to mock the wastage of current youth. She scowled at his joviality.

‘What are you lookin’ at? It’s your fault, after all. Spoilin’ the kids of today wit ya undeserved gifts, and whatnot.’

She lifted him out of the box and placed him on the kitchen table.

‘I’ll deal with you later. Tree first.’

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