A Walk At Christmas
I made a very stupid decision the other day. I decided to try and find a place to park in town. After my plan to easily slip into a space in one of the many parking buildings was quickly thwarted, I then joined the other like minded drivers who were making multiple laps around the city centre. If ever there was a breeding ground for road rage, this was surely it. After some time, and resisting the temptation to yell helpful driving tips out the car window, I eventually found a spot and skillfully maneuvered into it. Upon leaving the car, I found that in actual fact I was only a block from home. (But of course this is not true!) Proceeding on foot, sometime later I reached my destination of the local mall. On entry, I found myself listening to Michael Buble telling me that was ‘beginning to look a lot like Christmas.’ Apparently, everywhere I went.
It was this statement by Mr Buble that made me think that everything I know about Christmas in Aotearoa is wrong! Don’t misunderstand me, I’m not saying I don’t like Christmas, very far from it. It’s a wonderful time of year. In fact, I’m a very big fan of the whole deal. However, there’s something about being sold the image of a white Christmas, dashing through the snow and large winter meals with a roaring fire that just don’t really work here in the Southern Hemisphere. Well, at least it doesn’t when it’s 25 degrees outside and everyone is walking around in shorts and t-shirts.
Joining a line of shoppers, I proceeded up the escalator with the idea of making my way from the top floor down to the ground floor. This all went according to plan, and without incident, except that I couldn’t help but notice the Christmas decorations seemed a little sparse. It was when I reached the ground floor and I ventured around a corner and that I found Santa. He had a white beard, a broad face, a little round belly and wore the traditional red attire. However, far from being a jolly fat man who was preparing to embark on a busy day at work, one glance at him suggested that self combustion was a very real threat. This wasn’t due to the long line of children who were eager to rattle off their wish list to him, but more due to the fact it was 25 degrees outside and very hot and muggy in the mall. Yet, here he was, dressed as if he was ready for a snowball fight. What’s more, the sight of Santa’s sleigh surrounded by snow seemed absurdly out of place as bright sunlight streamed in through the windows. It was clear that Santa had a long day, and line, ahead of him.
Surviving the long trek back to the car and impressed that I even remembered where it was, I spent the trip home thinking about Christmas lights. As nice as they are, elsewhere in the world they make sense when it’s dark by 4:00pm. But, here in Aotearoa in the weeks leading up to Christmas, unless you stay up well past 10:00pm, they just don’t make a lot of sense.
Later, I arrived home to find a tui happily singing a tune from one of the nearby pohutukawa/rātā trees.
Somehow this felt more like Christmas.
I spoke not a word and headed for the BBQ.
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