And so it starts. The frenzied run-up to Christmas, that crazed shopping period where you can find neither a parking space nor a rational purpose. Things that were never things become a thing. Like panettone.
I would never think to eat cake for breakfast, yet there I am at the supermarket, overwhelmed by the enticing Italian boxes, deciding whether we need chocolate chip or traditional, and knowing in my heart it will be sitting on the kitchen bench, unopened until next August.
A big tray of assorted weird mixed nuts and fruits, consisting mostly of brazil nuts, 100 per cent I need those. I’ll have friends over to offer them to, all those random people to whom I suggested, “let’s catch up over the Christmas break!”, knowing full well we won’t.
How about that middle aisle at Aldi and all those iced ginger biscuits and Stollen from snow-covered, European countries? Hell yes, we will need those.
Nobody in my house likes sweet things at all, but we most definitely need a giant Christmas pudding, a fruit cake, some salted caramel sauce in a bottle shaped like a gingerbread man, and three giant boxes of overripe mangos that no one will be bothered cutting up.
I know I have wrapping paper left over from last year, and the year before, but I don’t know where it is, so let’s buy more. Sticky tape. Who would even know where to find that? It’s probably with Christmas tags, location unknown, so let’s restock. Do we even like turkey?
Have we ever liked turkey? Isn’t everyone feeling like it would be a marvellous idea to make a trip to the seafood markets with the rest of Sydney on Christmas Eve?
The ham won’t fit in the fridge unless we take the racks out, and now there is no space for the wine. Is it cooked by the way, it already looks cooked to me? I’m no home chef, but I suddenly think we will not make it through December if we don’t have verjuice and pomegranates and dukkah.
Look at the adorable hand-fashioned Christmas stockings. Don’t the kids need those, even though they are 23 years old? Those ye-olde-worldy painted glass ornaments are so sweet, until they smash on the floor.
We’re clearly not doing festive properly unless we have a poinsettia in a pot that will wither and die by February. Cranberry sauce is a must, even though the idea of jam on meat is deeply weird. I’ve driven aggressively around the shopping centre car park for 30 minutes now trying to snatch a park, and left, defeated.
Let’s simplify. I’ll walk up to the shops on Christmas Eve, and grab what we really need. Brussels sprouts, potatoes, apricots, wine, discounted pretzels in a cute gift hamper for people who aren’t coming.
I think we’ll be fine for 48 hours, we have all we need, including mince pies that no one in their right mind wants to eat.
Come Christmas morning. Damn. I forgot milk and bread.