Michele A'Court: Save Christmas for Christmas time
OPINION: I had a panic attack at the mall this weekend.
It wasn't induced by crowds (late afternoon on a fine day so there were only a few hardy shoppers) or personal anxiety (short list of errands, all of them pleasant).
What made me breathless was the massive fecking Christmas tree at the entrance to Farmers.
Right now, you can shove your baubles and tinsel where the early spring sun doesn't shine.
I like Christmas, but I like it at Christmas. This is October. There are currently 72 days left till Santa boards his sleigh. Start decking your halls now and I'll be inclined to deck someone myself.
What we need, I believe, is one more festive occasion to act as a buffer – a reef, as it were, to hold back the incoming yuletide. A distraction from premature celebration so we're not spent before Christmas has reached its climax.
Other countries have found admirable ways to whip consumers into a string of appropriate seasonal frenzies – I'm looking at you America.
Right now, they're focused on pumpkins and cider for Halloween at the end of October, and then it'll be Thanksgiving turkeys, football and parades till late November.
And then the trees go up, leaving less than a month for Snoopy's effing Christmas and jingle-effing-bells to wear thin. Well done, Hallmark and Macy's.
We've been giving Halloween a nudge here for the last decade, but I'd suggest what we could really do with is our own Kiwi version of Thanksgiving.
We wouldn't call it that, obviously – bit bloody full on.
May I submit, "Yeah, Nah, All Good" as a possible title. (Though please feel free to put together a committee of people who know nothing about events to whip up three or four other options and we'll have a referendum.)
We've got a statutory holiday available that's not really doing much.
Labour Day – the fourth Monday in October – has a proud history, celebrating the 8-hour working day won in 1840 (a lot of us quite fancy the idea of going back to working just the 8 hours) but it fails to inspire much fizz or any opportunity for hedonism. Should have been named the "16-hours of Leisure Day" if they'd thought about it properly.
We could fill "Yeah, Nah, All Good" day with the quintessentially Kiwi things for which we are thankful.
Seasonally appropriate food – asparagus rolls, cheese rolls, sausage rolls (consumed while John Rowles' hits play on a loop in the background), and pavlova (hands off, Australia – and America, stick to your pumpkin pies) and lamingtons. None of your kimchi or kombucha allowed.
We could decorate the malls with seasonal decorations – I see tuis shagging, and lamb-shaped piñatas.
At our YNAG dinner, we could go round the table and say what we're thankful for – "Ta, mum, eh!" – and then as a group hold hands (if that's a bit touch-feely there'd be an option to stand and wrap our arms around each as though preparing to engage in a scrum) and, in one voice - eyes closed, heads bowed - chant, "Chur".
And after that, the shops can put up their Christmas trees.