Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Christmas, brought to you by women

If you do Christmas in any form, odds are the women in your life (and yourself, if you is one) are (and have been for a while) considering present lists (and the budgets they represent), planning menus, ordering meat and/or planning other food, checking guest lists and shopping - endlessly shopping. I'm sure there exist boy-girl couples in which Christmas is co-ordinated by the boy, but I've never met them. Oh sure, guys "help out". Some of them might even buy a present or two. My father, in fact, was the food organiser. However, I've never met a bloke who was pulling all the strings, making sure everyone gets a gift (which they might even like), ensuring that all the decorations are done, working out who needs to be where and when. In short, they aren't responsible.

An illustrative example (paraphrased)

Crash: I feel guilty that you're doing so much. If there's anything I can do to help, let me know.
Me: Yeah, actually, I'd like you to be responsible for the booze.
Crash: Ok, I can do that.
Crash: Could you just decide what booze we want and check on the web for the prices at Dan's and 1st Choice?

The idea that men "help out" is a constant meme, but it seems to be on steroids at Christmas. I've even heard men complain that the magic is taken out of Christmas for them if they have to actually make it happen themselves. Well no, there really is no Christmas magic - it's the women doing a bloody lot of work - or at least a lot of thinking, planning and juggling that makes it look like magic. It's all illusion, and frankly, the show could probably use a few more magicians and a few less audience members.

Of course, I still love Christmas, so this post is to thank the women in my life, and all the women before them, and those all over, who are making Christmas happen. Continuing, creating and bending traditions, putting their heart into gifts, food and atmosphere that creates the magical illusion.

On Saturday, I'll be drinking white wine in the sun, ignoring the dodgy lyrics and enjoying the show, even though I can see the strings and all the "from Santa"s are in my handwriting.


  1. Women are...the civilizers of mankind. What is civilization? I answer, the power of good women. ...[Women] finish society, manners, language. Form and ceremony are their realm. They embellish trifles. All the ceremonies that hedge our life around are not to be despised, and when we have become habituated to them cannot be dispensed with. ...Their genius delights in ceremonies, in forms, in decorating life with manners, with proprieties, order and grace. ...We commonly say that easy circumstances seem somehow necessary to the finish of the female character: but then it is to be remembered that they create these with all their might. They are always making that civilization which they require; that state of art, of decoration, that ornamental life in which they best appear.
    [In] this department of taste..woman is the prime genius and ordainer. - Emerson, Woman

  2. Ah yes, "Write me a list" he says, "and I'll help."

    May all our juggling balls stay in the air, our audiences be properly appreciative and we'll give them all backstage passes so they can do the packing away at the end of the show.

  3. I can't stay silent there - at least Crash does the washing up. Not so much with the tree pulling down and so on, but at least he does the washing up. :)

  4. I can proudly say that I coordinated all the booze lol, which included looking up prices at Dan's etc... lol... The problem was that the 'Ladies Who Shoot their Lunch' Chardy was SOLD OUT lol. So far we have a Plunkett riesling, frizante and a Shiraz /Dolce sparkling lined up for xmas day. Ive reneged on the Ladies Who Shoot their lunch Shiraz, but I'm wondering if a Pinot Noir (red) would go well with turkey; perhaps the advice actually meant a sparkling Pinot Noir (white), in which I have to say that the Tigress Bay of Fires sparkling Pinot Noir/ Chardy was one of the better sparklings ive tried this year, not too dry.

  5. We'd better give you a cookie then, Gavin! :)

    Yes, Pinot (of the regular variety) goes pretty well with turkey. I have to admit that I'm kinda bummed that we won't be having Ladies Who Shoot Their Lunch chardy, it'll have to wait for another occasion.

  6. The 2010 Ladies who Shoot their Lunch Chardy is apparently being released about a week after xmas. I am not a massive chardy drinker, but the 2009 which I got to try was fantastic. I had it when we ate at Tratoria La Vigna restaurant with a creamy pesto gnocchi, and chicken in a butter sauce.

    It would certainly be in my top 5 wines I have tried in 2010, alongside the Yarra Burn Shiraz Viognier, Ben Glaetzer Bishop Shiraz, Tilba Sauvignon Blanc, and believe it or not a very humbling $14-95 2010 Riesling from Pewsey vale (Eden Valley).

    The Plunkett Riesling was supposed to be the 2010, but they gave me the 2008 instead. Since you prefer a dryer riesling from the Clare Valley, I think you will enjoy the Plunkett riesling. I prefer younger vintages with riesling.

  7. Well, to present evidence to the contrary, I'm pleased to report that a man 'doing it all' is very much a real thing.

    Since 1995, my father has been the 'get it done' person for our family.

    Even now, when the family returns home, he'll be slaving away over the cooker from early Christmas morning.

    So, fear not, there are wonderful counter-examples out there - it isn't all bad news.

  8. I did figure that counter-examples existed, and much kudos to your father. I can't help wondering though, does your father have a female partner?

    Either way though, I read this comment Christmas morning, and it made me smile. So I thank you, deeply. And I wish a Merry Christmas to you and your dad, and many more. :)

  9. I've noticed that since both of my brothers got married a few years ago, the SILs are clearly picking out the gifts for me that come from "the whole family". I sort of expected it from one brother, but it's really disappointing to see it coming from the other brother. His wife even told me to just give my list directly to her because my brother would "forget" what I wanted.

  10. A wonderful post Ariane. I posted about this topic on facebook (prior to your post) and I got one very strong comments from some man who was cooking lunch! Yea for him and all, but I wonder who bought the food and did the cleaning and got the presents etc etc. The problem with this work is it is so invisible....Grrrr.

  11. It is invisible - in fact a huge part of the effort is in making it invisible. Christmas is supposed to look like effortless fun, so there is even more planning and sorting out than usual.

    And goodo for your bloke commenter - my father used to cook the lunch too, but it wasn't him up at 2am wrapping presents.