The mono-religious holiday where there are more instances of domestic violence than at any time of the year. When more people in rural Queensland clean the family rifle a little more vigilantly than usual and blow their own head off. When people crash their cars. When emergency rooms at the hospital are run off their feet. When children cry because of their disappointments. When adults cry because the are reduced to children, when old wounds are ripped open and new ones are created. When people wrap overpriced presents in green and red because of a marketing campaign by Coca Cola that suggested that these were Christmas colours. When shop assistants snap at each other like tethered dogs. When sex is performed drunk and without adequate protection leading to a rash of september babies labored over in the heat of a new season. When husbands and wives grit their teeth at the oddness of in-laws and crack their jaws over the failings of their own parents and siblings. All this because of a biblical story. A religious fairytale that I have never actually believed.
I know I am all ba humbug and I know that people start to be nice to you on Christmas Eve and that is nice of course, but I am feeling sad about my family. A strange and haunting distance that is just underlined by other families who come together and act like they really like each other. I feel more like an alien at this time than at any other.
So merry Christmas to the orphans and the outcasts among you. Stay off the roads and don't play with weapons. Drink a little, but not with any gusto. Look at art. Listen to music. Read a book and remember that there are people out there who you have chosen to be your friends. We will survive the season and I will see you back at work after two days of public holidays.