Like the froggie above, I'm just not in the mood to hop to it. Not Christmas shopping, or baking, or trimming trees, wrapping presents, or writing lists. I'm not in the Christmas mood at all. Yet. I need some drizzly weather and the smell of tar-seal roads steaming in the rain. I need to hear the Jim Reeve's version of 'Little Drummer Boy' playing in a crowded mall, the panicked, crush of last-minute Christmas shoppers dashing out of the rain into shops, the mid-shopping cup of coffee to collect my thoughts, cross items off my list ... I need the smell of Christmas lilies, pine, candles, mowed grass ... I need the weirdness of windows and Christmas cards decorated with snowy scenes, robins and sleighs in the middle of our summer, to impact. As it will. I hope. From past experience it usually finally hits me around the 20th. (People try to enforce the mood far too early these days.)
Back when I was a child, Christmas was heralded mid-December by the appearance of crepe paper Christmas decorations pinned to the kitchen's low, pinex ceiling. Streamers flowing out from the light bulb in the middle like ribbons from a maypole, with novelty concertina-ed paper decorations pinned in the spaces between - my favourite was the rooster with a gaudy tail.
Another sign that Christmas was imminent was the wooden crate of fizzy drink bottles in the wash-house. (Us kids all 'baggsing'* the Ice Cream Soda). And Mum panicking over getting all of us kids bathed, the goose plucked, gutted and stuffed and the lawns cut. One Christmas Mum enlisted the help of older cousin Neil to cut the lawns. He got the hand-mower with its wooden handle, ridged wheels, swirly blades all lined up and ready to go. Mum showed him where to put the 3-in-1 oil so the blades and wheels would turn smoothly.
"How do you want me to cut the lawns?" he asked, checking to see if there was a preferred method - up and down rows? Or maybe a square pattern, starting from the outer edge and gradually working in to the last tiny square in the centre?
"I don't care," Mum said, "You can cut them zig-zag if you like, just as long as they're cut."
I was most disappointed when he chose to cut the lawn in a conventional up and down manner. I was sure he'd leap at the chance to cut them zig-zag; I knew that's what I would have done.
*baggsing - baggsing something meant that you had first dibs. (I'm not sure if this is a kiwi expression, a Southland expression or one just made up by us kids ... We would 'bags' the pudding dish, bags sitting in the front seat of the car etc. As there were seven of us, it was a matter of survival).