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Dubious delights of December

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When it comes to love-hate relationships, Peter Sherwood is obsessed with December. Yes, all of it

You may be familiar with my irrational Xmas aversion, and a general horror of December, which began when my son notified me with a wink that he’d worked out two years before that Santa’s not real – but he liked the presents. I’m single, and we lone expatriates hate Xmas; families ring-fence themselves, leaving we cursed independents praying for something stronger than an Aunt Roberta cocktail (Google it!) and a rerun of Friends.

Christmas or not, when December rolls around you’ll be stuck celebrating something-or-other. In Australia it could be G’day Day, while in the US, as a good citizen of Louisiana, you might be swigging Moonshine at Jump in the Swamp Week. If I could cuss in Cajun, I might join them. Nothing to celebrate in Eastern Siberia, I thought, and then landed on National Rhubarb Vodka Day. Tempting.

Maybe Xmas would be bearable did it not begin in November, and the season would improve immeasurably if its accompanying songs were placed in an iron container and lowered into the Mariana Trench, along with every bell that ever jingled. Problem is I’m hopelessly sentimental. Play Jim Reeves singing I’ll be Home for Christmas and I’m a blubbering fool. Bing Crosby dropped dead on a Madrid golf course in 1977. His 1942 album White Christmas has sold 50 million copies and I must have heard every one. I want desperately to loathe it yet it can make me bawl like a baby.

And just when normal life returns my birthday shows up, followed closely by New Year’s Eve when we all get hammered and imagine a perfect next 52 weeks. That’s when we’re drunk enough to believe that No Interruptions Day on December 31 has not been loudly interrupted.

I’m not forced to merry-make on my birthday. There are so many other festive possibilities in December. Who could not wish to frolic on National Bicarbonate of Soda Day? And Dewey Decimal System Day (not many people are aware of it) should not be missed. National Bacon Day is a major blowout – if you’re not of the porcine persuasion. And who would not yearn for the balmy Balkans on The Day of the Declaration of Slovakia as an Independent Ecclesiastic Province?

Having survived four years of Orange Man, I’m willing to believe anything. And I’m ready to celebrate all the December wingdings on my googled list. How about National Eat a Red Apple Day or Topou 1 Day – a great way to mark the coronation of King Tupou I, whether or not you happen to be in Tonga. There’s World Trick Shot Day, although no reference as to what shot is being tricked. National Roof Over Your Head Day? Seems like a sensible position for a roof. And of course, there’s Haiku Poetry Day. I’ll let you
know how that goes. But come December 1, the one I desperately need is Pretend to be a Time Traveller Day. Sadly, it’s not till the eighth.


Peter Sherwood has lived in DB for over 20 years. The former head of an international public relations firm, Peter is the author of 15 books and has written around 400 satirical columns for the South China Morning Post.

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