The holiday spirit

By: Daniel Hutchinson

Daniel Hutchinson
From The Hutch

 Aah, the holidays have arrived – or finished depending on your situation.

Taking a break can be a lot of hard work and cramming three weeks’ work into the week before Christmas is actually one of the lesser known Kiwi traditions.

If you want to take two weeks off over Christmas and New Year, it needs to be planned like the Crusaders plot their Super Rugby campaigns

Then there’s Christmas itself – last minute present shopping and the not-insignificant matter of stocking up the cupboards.

The supermarket is closed for a whole day, which is the equivalent of a nuclear winter for most people. A month’s worth of supplies is brought in.

By this stage the laws of logic and nature have gone out the window. We’ve done three week’s work in one week, brought a month’s worth of groceries for one day. Conditions are ripe for the perfect storm.

Santa stumbles

For many parents Christmas dawns very early, and heads are spinning from a lack of sleep. This state is not helped by the cheeky bottle of Lindauer, consumed while waiting for children to nod off so a slightly unstable Mr and Mrs Claus can stumble in and deposit a sack full of presents.

Not long into the day, the eating begins and for me, the nuts are the worst. I could easily pass on the nuts, unless they are scorched almonds, but for some reason I eat them anyway and then keep eating them. Why do I do that?

For breakfast there is probably some tradition – more bubble perhaps? Salmon and poached eggs? Maybe it’s a church service.

And then the cooking begins because, yes, that’s right, we don’t just have one meal for Christmas, we have half a dozen – ham, turkey, lamb and probably a chicken because you might as well chuck one in too. Then there’s steamed pudding and ice cream, pavlova, trifle and brandy snaps.

By the afternoon, the effect of too many carbs has pushed many people into a semi-coma – huge, distended bellies means all one can do is phone a relative and wish them a Merry Christmas or watch Indiana Jones and Die Hard movies.

If you survived Christmas, then there is Boxing Day to contend with and a fridge full of left overs. If you have run out of booze by this stage you have a problem and should see someone about it.

Stop eating the leftovers

The day after Boxing Day is Friday so if you’re working, you have obviously made a very poor career choice. You should have cleaned up by now. If you haven’t, you have probably contracted salmonella or campylobacter.

Assuming you haven’t got food poisoning by now, a lot of people are considering abandoning their comfortable dwelling and indulgent lifestyle and heading for a refugee camp somewhere.

These camps are massively popular in New Zealand. Whole families cram themselves into SUV’s and drive for hours, through horrendous traffic, so they can pitch a tent right next to hundreds of other people who had the same urge.

Then the whole family squeezes into this tent or collection of tents or caravan or whatever and sets about relaxing, content that they have left the stress and bother of everyday life behind them.

Often these camps are situated in nice areas but the lack of amenities soon causes problems.

Washing dishes in buckets and sharing a bathroom with all the other refugees is not as much fun as having an ensuite and a kitchen and lounge for your own private use.

Do it in style

Camping should be reserved for emergencies or if you are doing something adventurous, like climbing a mountain or doing one of the world’s great walks.

However, if you are the competitive sort, and you have a bit of spare cash, camping can be quite fun. In fact, you can set up your campsite so that you have all the comforts of home.

For some people, it is a simple matter of buying a campervan or a house bus. Bingo, sorted.

For others, it is a trailer job. A trailer big enough to fit a three-room tent, memory foam mattresses and bedding, a gas fired, four-burner barbecue,  tables and chairs, a TV and satellite dish, a generator, a kitchen sink with a 20 litre container, a wardrobe and, if there is room, a spa pool.

Have I forgot anything? Of course you have. Food mate, food! And insect repellent and medical kit and clothes and don’t forget the toothbrush. Basically just take everything out of the house.

So, anyway, regardless of how you choose to holiday, by now you should be fully set up and in full relaxation mode.

And if you’re not – get a motel!