It’s That Time Of The Year Again

It’s a bit of a cliche — but where did the year go?  People seem to be obsessed with “getting ready for Christmas” and wherever you go, whoever you talk to the subject seems to come up.

It’s the silly season and people do stupid things or at least that’s what it seems like.

We have all year to be ready for it, yet every year most people appear surprised that it’s that time again.

There is talk on the news about how many millions or billions will be spent on Christmas presents across the nation.  We are being urged not to overspend and run our credit cards up too high that it becomes a struggle to pay off over the next year.

Then you meet the really organised person who smugly states that they’ve done their shopping over the year and they are all ready.  The cake and pudding are made weeks ahead, their menu is organised, presents wrapped, timetable filled in — they probably even know what colour undies they are going to wear on Christmas Day!

Discussions about  what colour scheme or theme to have, or should you choose a real tree or fake and so forth. The merits of hot food versus cold, pre-prepared or cooked on the day etc etc.

Me — well I’m definitely not organised.  I haven’t even discussed with my family what is going to happen and where or when.   I guess we will get around to it sometime this week.  But to me it’s not a big deal anymore.  I’ve done the organising and catering for twenty-five or so people, ending up absolutely exhausted on the day — not to mention the end of the day.  Now we’ve had some of the oldies pass away, couples separating, family members moving away or removing themselves from the family orbit and so on.

Last year we had a pre-Christmas dinner with close family and on the day  I packed a gourmet picnic then Ross and I drove to the beach and had a lovely relaxed lunch.  The weather was perfect and it was no big deal, yet it was really lovely.  Special even.

I’d like to do it again — although the weather forecast is not so good, it will still be fun. Plus it’s not so easy to overindulge when you have to carry all your food with you.

Then talking about Christmas has me thinking about how fortunate I am to be able to consider which options to choose when there are so many close by us who do not have that choice.  I am privileged to have friends and family to celebrate Christmas with, to have the ability to buy presents for them and prepare food from an array of ingredients.  To make the day different from every other day.

Still, when it all boils down to reality — none of this is as important as being around family.  For me, that is what makes a Christmas — not the presents, the food or the decorations.

It’s the people who count.



Quite an innocuous word really until you start thinking more deeply  about it.

Just what is normal?  What determines normal?  Who sets the benchmark for normal?

So I’ve been thinking about what is normal for me, since my doctor asked me a couple of weeks ago if sitting around not doing much is normal.  I replied “heavens no, I’m normally like the energiser bunny!”

But then again when I think about it, some days just sitting around doing nothing much really is ‘normal’ for me — especially on weekends or on holidays.  Then at other times I really do run around like a madwoman, doing several different things at the one time.  And probably not doing any of those really well either!

However, if for example I disappeared, and the detectives (like the ones we watch on the telly) started asking my family, friends and colleagues what was normal for me — what would they say.

They wouldn’t say ‘well she always gets up at x o’clock, has a cuppa, reads the paper, goes for a twenty minute walk…’ and so on.    To me that would be too organised, too much routine and I rebel against being too regimented.

I recall my mother-in-law always set the table for breakfast before going to bed, which was simply weird to me.  Occasionally I will get organised the night before I work, but certainly not all the time.  My movements are generally unpredictable, although I’m sure there are some things I always do that are unconsciously done.  Whilst I don’t embrace routine, there is a certain comfort in having it.

I’m sure we’ve all tried brushing our teeth with the non-favoured hand and felt really uncomfortable doing it.  We’ve done it the same way for so long we don’t even realise how routine it is.

So I guess for most of us there would be some things that could be said to be normal for us, even though we don’t think about them as such.

For those of us who drive a car, we have our own little routines when we get behind the wheel.  When asked I’m sure there is a process we follow but just don’t think about.

I remember when Kelly had been admitted to the psychiatric unit for the second time, and we — the family— attempted to tell the Psychiatrist that her behaviour was not normal for her.  He dismissed us totally — wasn’t interested in what was normal for her.  He was only interested in what he could see, and in reality we as her family were voiceless because she was an adult.

Thats a difficult thing to accept as a mother because for a long time society generally looks to the mother for information.  But as our children move on to adulthood, we become unimportant — relegated to the sidelines and our opinion  means very little.

So on thinking more about my ‘normal’, I’ve discovered that I probably have a lot of things that could be attributed to me as being ‘normal’.

So what’s your normal?