The legislated nostalgia of christmas

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The silly season is upon us and boy do the kids know it! The number of tantys being thrown here at the Leahy Household has risen exponentially to an daily average of 6.8 incidents per child (and that’s including the 12 year old) and based on past experience, is forecast to rise till the presents are opened.

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Other things I don’t like about xmas – getting mobbed at the shops (my shopping motto – online in november better than physical in december), not being able to get parking at the supermarket, long queues at the post office….

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But I also try to embrace the positive. The kids singing along to the wonderful jazz inflected version of “Izzat you Santa Claus” on the Putamayo Xmas cd in the car (guaranteed to drive Mark crazy by January, when he’s finally allowed to jab the eject button on the cd changer). Xmas carols by candlelight. Catching up with old friends on sunny patios. Waking up in the middle of the night to get a glass of water and stumbling blearily into the magical haze of hundreds of dimly glowing fairy lights in the living room…

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One of my friends said that the magic of the Peninsula is that you get to recreate the childhood that you never had, as an adult. Now you can go horseriding, own a farm, make your own preserves, set up a roadside lemonade stall, go fishing, build sandcastles and so on.

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In the same vein, Xmas to me is what Douglas Coupland called “Legislated Nostalgia”, or “to force a body of people to have memories they do not actually possess”.

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I mean, I’m Singaporean Chinese, our family never celebrated Christmas. On Chinese New Year we got given red packets with money stuffed in them, which were then promptly confiscated by our parents who would deposit them prudently in our bank accounts. (Reminds me of that joke about Chinese parents being really proud when their babies said their first number…).

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But yet, thanks to the proliferation of mass media, I have a legislated nostalgia for things I’ve only read about in Enid Blyton books or Charlie Brown comics. Egg nog. Tinsel. Chestnuts roasting on an open fire. Milk and cookies.

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So I get a kick out of watching the kids embrace these “traditions”, which I perform as if they are part of my DNA. (Although Mark is a seasoned pro, I sure can put on a good show of being Accustomed to Christmas).

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Which brings me to one of the best parent hacks of this season – Portable North Pole. if you haven’t heard of this, you MUST do this. It is imperative as a parent.

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Basically, it’s a (free) website where you enter your child’s name, upload a few photographs and make a variety of selections from drop down boxes, then presto – a customised video from Santa gets sent to your email which you can play for your kid, who will doubtlessly be gobsmacked with awe when he sees Santa talking to him through the computer screen telling him that he knows of everything he’s been up to this year and showing him photos that his CIA-trained elves have been feeding him… It’s a hoot!

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Here’s the website:
http://www.portablenorthpole.tv/home

and if you’re interested, you can check out finn’s video here:
http://www.portablenorthpole.tv/watch/guest/hG7bdK3WXDnp2suksiFfaw

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Absolutely transfixed! Great job Santa and your virtual elves….

x,
C

3 thoughts on “The legislated nostalgia of christmas

  1. Hello Crystal darling, just loved your reading your blog!! You have cheered me up no end x x x

  2. This PNP site is great! I hope Finn will listen to his parents enough to get a steam train.

  3. Memories are made of this! Dean Martin sang about them in God’s old time – which I remember. xox

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