This is our Fifth Christmas in the U.S.A. So I shouldn’t be surprised by the level of consumerism as the Big Day approaches. But I am. Every Fucking time. What in New Zealand I knew as a scramble for gifts becomes ritualistic in the U.S.A. Willy Wonker styles. We’re all searching for the last chocolate bar with the magic ticket. Every child is Charlie fucking Bucket. It’s just plastic crap we’re picking over but somehow it’s essential we find the ticket to what we hope will become a disturbing but magical journey in the New Year that finishes off every other child but ours. We have a winner folks and it’s our progeny. Our gene pool!
It’s Naughty and Nice taken to extremes. And none of us are immune to this compulsive consumerism. Don’t believe me? Find yourself elbowing the fuck out of your way through a wall of your¬†
competitors¬†fellow Moms, a week out in the toy aisles in Target for the last life size Elsa doll¬†(aisle 22) moving through the human sea like¬†you’re a finalist in Dancing With The Stars, despite your usual reticent shopping style and you’ll soon get the picture.
It could be that or that we’ve had Johnny Depp in our living room every day for a week. Reruns of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory and Tim Burton movies.
Christmas in The U.S. Its¬†the fervor with which the PTA Moms put the annual Christmas lunch together. And don’t get me wrong ours was delicious. Some of the Mom chefs at our school would put Julia Child to shame. I was a little late to ours but have been going long enough to know the patter and ease in : “Hi!! HOW ARE you?” Like she really fucking cares. A smile and move on. Not because we’re bad people folks, but we have to get around the room!
I’m as guilty of the next as this. One phrase I have learned not to use when making my departure during my conversational duties is: “See you later!”. It’s just not commonly used in the States. What’s a friendly common phrase in New Zealand makes you sound like a stalker in the¬†U.S. I try to get a selfie with Celebrity Mom but she ducks. Oh well. There’s always next year.
Then we hunker down for a real heads up with the other Bad Moms! Which is when we realise we’re all bad Mom’s just trying to keep it together for the sake of the
ungrateful brats kids. ¬†Home and Hearth. That’s the real glue of the Universe, not the fervent attention paid to divining the meaning of Donald Trump’s latest Tweet.
The funniest parts of Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory:
Christmas in The U.S.A
On the face of it, Christmas here is the same as anywhere else. The guys (sorry Main Breadwinners) work right up until the last day. If the world had any sense it would knock off work (that may be a Kiwi aphorism) a million years ahead of the big day so families could collectively curl up like the Buckets, not to conserve heat but to commiserate about the arduous task ahead of cleaning, decorating, and fighting over who hosts Christmas Dinner. Or better yet, just stopping for a few precious days to enjoy each others company. Isn’t that what Christmas is all about? Families celebrating the newborn among them. Poignantly remembering those who have passed. Putting a bodyguard on Aunt Mabel so she doesn’t get garrulous on ill begotten whisky from grandpa’s fifty year old stash too early in the day.
There’s always one.
And so Santa would have voted to stay in the EU:
” This could be because he reaps the benefits of unlimited border control-free travel, or because of the fact he lives in the North Pole and therefore is pretty much a ‘citizen of nowhere’.
There are also claims he lives in Lapland, which is in Europe, so perhaps he just wants the United Kingdom to remain part of the European project, or will miss the benefits of trading with us if a sufficient deal is not met.”
The Human Tsunami: Ft Joshing with Philip.
Did I mention how intense the shopping experience is just prior to Christmas. As in the entire four fucking Months in the lead up to Christmas. It starts straight after Labour Day. Constant and sophisticated marketing techniques. Macy’s is the worst culprit. Don’t whatever you do go through the perfume department from September onwards. They’ll spritz you without permission!! “Do you like the latest scent from Chanel?” Spritz! “Fuck off and get out of my olfactory systems you nose rapist!” You think. You try to prevaricate. “I use…..” looking around and seeing no particular sign of the fragrance house in question.
Philip my Au Pair and companion since August does a great impression of these persistent sales elves. “I use Paco Rabanne”, he says to try and get away. They look like they have a winner and gesture like they’re unveiling a brand new car as a prize, “Step this way sir, we have it over here….”.
And what would be flat out rude in other cultures is self defence in America. “I’m good. Byee.,” you disengage turn and leave. They’re already talking to another customer leaving you slightly discomforted.
If you get a sweet spot during the Christmas shopping period, it’s easy to fool yourself that it must be a quiet day. Maybe the madness is over, you muse to yourself. But what an eerie, eerie phenomenon. You can walk into an empty, Safeway, Toys’R’Us or Macy’s and half an hour later a human tsunami pours in through the doors and you’re weaving and ducking and diving with your trolley. Sorry. Shopping Cart.
If you can’t beat ’em, join ’em. Happy shopping Housewives!