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2013-12-02 - 3:38 p.m.

All of a sudden it is December again. Last night we put the Christmas Tree up, and I made a resolution to myself that for each of the next 35 days that it adorns a corner of our loungeroom, I am going to enjoy and appreciate the season. December 1st through January 31st is easily my favourite time of year,but I always manage to stress through about half of it. Mainly because of what somebody coined the "paradox of choice"- there are so many things to do; from Christmas parties, to catch-ups with every group of friends before Christmas, to Christmas shopping, to the time you are actually at work being more intense because there is less time to do everything in; so many things to do that it inevitably takes some of the gloss off what is supposed to be fun. Some years you take a deep breath on December 1st and don't exhale until late in the afternoon on Christmas Eve, leaving about 60 hours to actually enjoy yourself (assuming you are someone who enjoys the Family Christmas Circus, and fortunately I am) before shifting into cleanup mode, or worse still having to be back at work the day after Boxing Day (or as is the case for me this year, being on call through the Christmas break).

Well screw first world problems. This is a time to be thankful for what you have (realising the importance of this concept, and unsure whether there was enough time to be thankful and celebrate the "true meaning of Christmas", the Americans have an entire 4 day weekend for this a month early).

This is what I have planned for the next two months, and (at least right at this moment) I am not at all stressed about it:

- Today is a work "picnic day" (some sort of Union agreed compensation for not having Bank Holidays in our industry- whatever the reason I'm not complaining). I had Friday off as annual leave and we headed up to Seal Rocks (near Forster) for 3 days camping. It rained the whole time, but there's something about camping that does it for me, even if all you do is sit in your communal sheltered area eating, drinking and playing cards. And today of course the sky is blue, the weather is warm, and rather than curse the mistiming of the weather events I am thankful that I had time this morning to put my tent back up in the backyard and let it dry, and wash our smokey clothes, and throw all the "camping clean" dishes through the dishwasher.
- On Friday I have a Christmas Party in the afternoon for the department I left at the end of last year, and in the evening one for the department I moved to. Jo is invited to both of them, which is cool, and while it is slightly less cool that I am on call, I can't complain given all the weeks I told them I couldn't be on call due to weddings and aforementioned camping trips.
- On Saturday I have a Buck's night, which I am also on call for. This might be the night for stretching the line just a little around what is an appropriate number of drinks for an on call evening (whereas the work Christmas Party most certainly isn't). I'm not too concerned- we'll be Ten-Pin Bowling, then having a sit down dinner, and I'll probably call it a night after that before the larger volume of alcohol are consumed (that said, the groom- a new father- does not think he will be having the biggest of bucks nights).
- Sunday I have nothing planned, so as long as work is nice to me, I am looking forward to a day of not having to anything.
- Friday the 13th we head up to the Hunter Valley for Wendy and Ross' wedding. Friday night is a pre-wedding informal catch up, Saturday morning we might hit a few cellar doors, and then the Wedding is Saturday afternoon at a Church with the reception at Peterson's Champagne House. And I am not on call for that one!
- I assume that between Monday 16th and Christmas Eve will be the aforementioned trying to catch up with as many groups of friends as possible. If you are reading this, and you are in Sydney, this includes you!
- Christmas is the usual lunch with Jo's family and dinner with mine, followed by Boxing Day with Jo's small extended family. I am on call from midday Christmas Eve until midday New Year's Eve, but I'm told people do their very best not to harrass you on the public holidays. Christmas night I'm sure I'll have enough drinks to warrant staying at my parents house, but be sensible enough to make some quick decisions if they are needed.
- Australia Day, I was conned by the prospect of seeing Blur and Pearl Jam at the Big Day Out, and still being able to hold my annual BBQ. Then they cancelled the second show (meaning the only remaining show is on Australia Day). Then Blur cancelled. Bastards. So I'm either going anyway, and having my annual BBQ on the public holiday Monday (when the Hottest 100 is all over, but I can spotify the playlist), or demanding a refund on principle (even though I'm sure there is still a full day's worth of bands that I wouldn't mind seeing).

Time to take that deep breath and enjoy the ride...

 

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