I live in a house of Christmas fanatics.
These girls, they refuse to live by the regulations set down by society. When it comes to the festive season, they go by their own rules.
Christmas trees go up on December 1, right? Well, tell that to Daughter Two.
She’s taken responsibility for the tree. Her pet project. This year, she decided mid-November would be a good time to get to work.
I explained that this was way too early. Bad luck. Bordering on foolhardy.
Daughter Two wasn’t listening. She was on a yuletide mission. No need to check the calender. It was tree time.
She enlisted the services of The Teenager. Together they emptied several dozen boxes onto the lounge room floor. Tinsel, and coloured balls, and angels, and candy canes, and tiny stockings. A mass of green and red and silver.
They are famous, these two, for their inability to finish any household chore. All things done by half. Their motto is “Make a start, so it looks like we’re actually doing something, and then let someone else finish it”. But not the tree.
They worked all that Sunday arvo. With Christmas carols playing in the background. Not a cross word between them. Another first. And by the end of it, they’d done a spectacular job.
It didn’t take long for them to turn their festive fingers to another project. One that splits our family down the middle. Christmas lights.
They were inspired a few years ago, by a great mate of mine. A crazy man who dedicates weeks of every year to turning his humble house into a showpiece of blazing electricity.
He spends thousands on those damn lights. Works every spare day and night. People come from far and wide to see his dazzling suburban spectacular. He even cooks a sausage sizzle for them, while guzzling cool drinks.
The girls thought it was wonderful. And immediately, demanded to know why I was so lazy, and so lacking in the Christmas spirit.
I explained that my friend was well-known for spending vast amounts of money on ridiculous projects for no clear gain. They were having none of it. We needed our own light show.
My dissenting voice was barely heard. I pointed out how high our power bill already was. It rivals newly created African nations most months. This is because the girls have a medical condition, whereby their fingers are physically unable to turn light switches off.
No-one was listening. Before I knew it, I was wrapping long lines of coloured lights across the deck and around our garden.
I did this task poorly. It didn’t help that ants were munching on me as I stretched across the bushes. But mostly, because I am incapable of untangling anything beyond a shoelace. And Christmas lights are designed to instantly tangle.
It took hours. Neighbours complained about the language, which I admit wasn’t fit for the season. Someone mentioned that my rows may have been comically uneven. It was my first and last time.
This year, out of courtesy, the girls asked me to help. I declined. To their great relief.
They’ve discovered that they can do the job much better without me. Quicker too. What took me half a day, now gets done within the hour. Something about that bloody untangling.
I could happily celebrate the festive season in the dark. As long as I can have a cool drink on Christmas Eve, and play Neil Diamond’s carols, I’m at peace.
But the rest of you seem to like the lights. The concept isn’t fading. I accept defeat.
The Christmas fanatics in my house are doing their bit. More power to them. I just wish I wasn’t paying for it.