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Tidings of comfort

  • 07 December 2021
Without Christmas, without that beautiful bookend of closure and celebration for another rather depressing year, where would we be? Speaking for me and mine, ensconced in the oft-locked-down leafy suburbs of Melbourne, 2021 promised much and delivered little more than a continuance of stress, bad blood among some of the tribes that comprise Victorian society, and the hope that heightened vaccination rates will translate into the need for no more lockdowns. That’s certainly a present worth unwrapping.

What about your life? Has this second year of COVID-19 brought reassurance or renewed anxiety? Have you been tested and tested again, hospitalised, prodded and poked and pained, or borne away, clear of concerns of infection? Or is that reality alI in the rear-view mirror, as you cruise to vistas bestrewn with pavlovas, Christmas parties and holidays by the beach?

In a despairing attempt to shed some COVID kilos I and my hulking teenage son have been attending extra karate classes, working towards a grading to receive our brown belts. (Said belt, if all goes well for me, will sit snugly atop a more svelte frame.)

Food is a Yuletide passion; an Advent joy that will transcend any dietary discipline I have mustered, come Christmas Day, Boxing Day, New Year’s Eve. I would not have it otherwise.

Fiscal folly is a reality also, as we ignore the weighty pull of receipts to covertly pounce on gifts with wrapping paper and sicky tape (in the vain hope of surprising teenagers who longer ago uncovered our hiding spots).

Between car repairs, a new air conditioning unit, the services of plumbers, electricians and various tradies, the months of November and December have taken a large toll. In this instance, storing up presents throughout the year and a lack of interstate travel courtesy of the nation’s premiers has meant we’ve been able to cope financially. For some of us, lockdowns have had an unexpected upside fiscally.

'Christmas stages our best selves, and lets us nut out the unified theory of self that is only proved in the company of others.'

Fun has been a partially absent friend this year. We hope to continue to get reacquainted these holidays, through the hedonistic pursuit of pleasure, sun, leisure and the sheer joy of getting in a car and driving as long and as far as we want to, dispersing disposable income as we cruise though hamlets. 

Without the cyclical stories, without the bedrock of family rituals, tall