Christmas Grinch? Not in Hamilton thanks
It's time for a spot of real Christmas cheerPAUL BARLOW
As November draws to a close the days get longer, the sun gets brighter and the grimaces on people's faces get more surly - for edging ever closer is the season of giving and with it comes the most stressful time of the year.
Some people are oblivious to it, a happy few that will happily drift through the city with blinkers on thinking all the faux holiday cheer is real, is part of the season. I feel sorry for them - they have, after all, been fed the homogenised safe version of Christmas - and I want to fix it.
But I'm torn. I dislike the idea of decorations and forced cheer in November because for me December is the proper time for decking halls.
December is the month for holly, being jolly and other things ending in "olly". But I know sometimes these things require a plan in advance -Templeview's Lights don't just appear overnight after all.
So I'm making it my mission to bring some real Christmas cheer to the lives of my fellow Hamiltonians.
I want them to break free of the usual, the mundane and the safe and try to bring a genuine smile to grimace laden faces adorning the malls and shopping areas of a city that wants to be known as the kiwi home of Christmas.
It won't be easy, planning surprises is difficult and Hamiltonians run the gamut of personality and beliefs. Last year I mentioned Christmas cake was an evolution of the practice common in the time of Jesus - of baking the placenta into a cake - and this really offended a number of Christians I knew, despite this coming from a guide book for Catholic priests to use to plan Christmas sermons for their congregation. The idea something as Holy as the Placenta of Christ could be eaten in a rum laden fruit cake worried them.
And I don't want this to end up as something offensive.
I really just want to help bring genuine smiles to people's faces in the darkest corners of the most Grinchy parts of Hamilton. To cheer up those who are sick and cynical over the Holiday season, those that have been force-fed Carols since October and made to wait for the lines of crying kids at Santa's grottos at our Mega Malls.
So my plan seems to be evolving into something akin to guerrilla Christmassing - planning sneak attacks of Christmas cheer.
It's about finding that moment, the one thing that makes you sit up and go - "This is what the holiday season is all about".
But I can't do it by myself - I need your help.
I want ideas, I will need resources. I want big plans and bigger hearts! Are you with me Hamilton? If you like I can share with the city how brilliant you are for helping.
The Waikato has had a long dark year. We started in a drought and we've seen our biggest industries like farming, Fonterra and mining stumble. We've seen a nasty election campaign that almost tore our City Council apart, our public spaces have become filled with unruly youth and the team behind 7 Days won't stop poking fun at us.
I believe ending the year with a reason to smile, with a reason to hold onto a positive vibe going into 2014, can only be a good thing.
And I think it's not a bad thing to start the New Year with a smile.
So help me out Waikato - let's make this awesome!
Do you have an idea for a guerrilla attack of Christmas cheer? Let us know in the comments below or tweet Paul using @Ceriphinz