23 September 2019

My Christmas: Maryann Mussared

| Maryann Mussared
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RiotACT columnist Maryann Mussared reckons her best ever Christmas was in Egypt – her hotel was invaded by hordes of Christmas carol-singing Egyptian children from the local English language school and her riverboat trip to Luxor began by being given a chocolate Santa to eat beside a gold-baubled on-boat Christmas tree.

What I love most about Christmas is it signals it is almost the end of the year and a lot of very annoying people leave Canberra like stampeding lemmings. With careful planning, including not accepting too many invitations, and ordering my free-range turkey and seafood in advance and delegating the pudding, I actually get to relax a bit and start to plan all those resolutions for the New Year I can’t possibly keep.

What I like least about Christmas is suddenly discovering I need to go shopping for last minute ‘stuff’ and getting caught in the hunt for the non-existent parking spot. The multi-storey car park on Benjamin Way, Belconnen is the most deadly place on earth in the weeks leading up to Christmas. I also really dislike over-consumption; less is definitely best and why did we ever stop recycling Christmas wrap?

My best ever Christmas was in Egypt. I went to escape Christmas but found the Egyptians had their own unique take on the tradition and were concerned their guests might be missing out. Christmas Eve the hotel was invaded by hordes of Egyptian children from the local English language school who sang some Christmas carols very badly and for way too long. The next day we were perplexed to receive chocolate Santas before embarking on a river boat that was decorated with an enormous Christmas tree and so many huge gold baubles, we could barely get up the gangway. Luckily there were no turkeys or hams readily available in Luxor so we were treated to delicious local cuisine.

My favourite Christmas songs are All I Want For Christmas Is a Beatle, voted 1963 Worst Song of the Year, and I irritatingly sing along loudly to any Christmas Musak in shopping malls.

My favourite Christmas film is Love Actually and I take particular pleasure in the performance of Bill Nighy as the jaded has-been pop star who suddenly finds fame; and Will Ferrell in “Elf”

I celebrate on Christmas Eve by performing that ancient ritual of ‘dressing the turkey’. This is closely akin to doing a Mr Bean, although I stop short of putting the turkey on my head. I do however stuff every cavity I can find with a variety of seasonings, stuffing and force-meat. Then I trim off the tips of the wings as a Christmas treat for my cats, and the final act is draping the naked breast with thick fatty rashers of bacon. Another big tick off the list and then a nice long shower and an early night.

I celebrate on Christmas Day by doing as much as I possibly can in the morning, so I can relax over lunch with friends, family and some good champagne.

On Boxing Day I enjoy the complete decadence of snacking on leftovers and doing as little as possible, except reading my new books. I always pray for fine weather so the cricket isn’t cancelled which everyone I know except me thinks is the next best thing to Christmas.

The gift I’d most like to give this Christmas is a piglet, and also chickens, ducks, goats and clean drinking water. Yes, World Vision has a wonderful gift catalogue bulging with affordable gifts you can buy on behalf of others for communities in need.

For Christmas this year I’d like a few cool days and some rain, and I would love some new plants for my front courtyard.

Would you like to join the RiotACT team in sharing your thoughts on Christmas with RiotACT readers? We’d love to read them. Please log on to the RiotACT website and choose “create article” to submit your own responses to the My Christmas cues for publication.

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