November 19, 2011

My Case for Skipping Christmas

Yikes, is it this time of year again?

The stores have put up their Christmas trees, the kids are practicing carols on their instruments, and I have that nagging feeling that it's high time to get to work on that list of presents once again. Yet something is very wrong. It is freaking 36 degrees (Celsius, which is somewhere in the 90s in Fahrenheit) outside, so that even I, the biggest chicken when it comes to cold water, have been romping in our pool. If you've been brought up in the Northern Hemisphere, Christmas and sunny weather just don't go together. Even North Carolina, which does have four seasons (in the right order), was borderline, so that we'd sometimes make a roaring fire on Christmas Eve while running the A/C so as not to wilt from the heat.

Tyical Christmas season scene from Joburg


Last year, I made a sort of half-assed effort at Christmas, because it was our first in Joburg and I just felt bound by tradition. See the sad tree I was able to round up here. But this year I have no yearnings for anything Christmas-like at all. In fact, I quite resent the very idea. Back in July, when we were out of gas and I was freezing my butt off in my kitchen, I could have felt the Christmas spirit and in fact I did bake some cookies then, just to warm up the kitchen (which was not an easy feat, because the butter wouldn't soften enough and stuck to the side of the bowl instead of becoming creamy). But  now? No thanks. Can we please just skip Christmas?

I've already reduced my Christmas to-do list to the bare bones. Lighting up the house with chains of lights? No one does it here. Shopping for overseas presents? They never get there. Sending out Christmas cards? ditto. Striking that one off my list made me a bit sad (if you have known me for a while, you will know that my annual Christmas card is a source of pride) but I have to say it freed up an immense amount of time - no more researching printing costs, having the card and a picture printed, buying stamps and envelopes, stuffing everything and separating by country, licking stamps...

But try as I might, I can't cull the "presents" category from my list. All I can do is try to make it easier and more painless to get my hands on them, which is why I was happy to find out about this new Amazon site called MYHABIT.




It's something Amazon has started fairly recently, a new site offering up to 60% off hand-picked selections from fashion designer and boutique brands, including men's women's and children's apparel, accessories, shoes, jewelry and watches, as well as home decor and toys. I admit I'm actually not the type to get excited about the mention of shopping, boutique brands not withstanding, but I thought I'd share it with those of you who are. If you've been frustrated about not finding certain things here in South Africa, this might be an alternative. I checked out their shipping policy and they offer a flat rate of $15 on international shipping, and - you have to make sure of these things - South Africa is on the list. The only caveat is that there might be an additional customs fees deposit depending on what you're buying, but that is not to be avoided unless you can buy in the U.S. and have visitors smuggle in the item as their token of appreciation for being pampered at your house, in which case shipping is free.

Enjoy your shopping while I'm off to convince my kids that we really don't need a Christmas tree this year...

3 comments :

cat said...

Christmas in South Africa is all about the pool, watermelon and Santa in shorts on the beach. I guess it take some getting used to. Why not try an Africa Christmas tree to get into the spirit (take a wire boabab christmas tree, put beaded decorations on - go full out Africa)

Sine said...

cat - another friend recommended the wire baobab tree and I think that is exactly what I will do! And what decorations I can't fit onto that I will just sprinkle throughout the house. My first Christmas ever without a real tree, and I feel liberated:-) Will just have to somehow pre-empt the kids' disappointment...

W. A. Jeffrey said...

If you ship presents via DHL, FedEx, or UPS they would get there or get to you if ordering FROM overseas but of course the cost is so prohibitive you could pay for the gift several times over but it CAN be done.