In Germany towards the end of the year, you’re told by articles in the newspaper that you should take time out to be “besinnlich”. “Sich besinnen” means to contemplate, to reflect on…something. Wouldn’t it be more sensible to preach that in the summer when we’re all off on vacation? As Christmas approaches, who has time to reflect on anything?
Both working men and women are hassled as the year draws to a close. There’s that project to complete, those sales projections to meet – or even better, exceed, and will the year-end results pacify corporate HQ?
But do the men have to worry about creating that special Christmas effect for their loved ones at home? I’m going to risk sounding sexist here. In most hetero families the woman gets stuck with the long to-do list: Xmas shopping and grocery shopping, home decorations, card writing, not to mention organizing the social calendar for one and all – inviting friends around, involving more work – and then that ever-present necessity: food preparation. The only thing she has time to reflect on is what in the hell she should cook that night.
I’ve never heard a man sigh and complain about all the preparations yuletide demands. No, they have been wordlessly delegated to his partner. The men even leave their gift shopping until Christmas Eve. Then they can maintain they looked everywhere for just the right present but couldn’t find anything good enough. Of course not. The stores were all picked clean. So they drive home on the 24th in need of sympathy and a bottle of red. With glass in hand they settle in front of the television while their wives are zipping around, multi-tasking their way through the final countdown.
Or am I completely off-base here? It’s time for you men to defend yourselves. Or if you agree with me, you could submit a laudatio for your significant other half, praising her amazing organizational talents.
Oh yes, I remember now: reflections. You see how easy it is to forget them this time of year. I should be contemplating all the blessings bestowed on me: our health and wealth, our beautiful family and dear friends. But sorry, I’m pushed for time today. I’ve got to get the Xmas cards for Australia to the post office before it closes!