Christmas arrived abruptly this year. Everybody says that same bullshit, but what I mean is that I kept waiting for Christmas to arrive. Not the day, but the feeling, and it wasn’t until it was the 24th did I learn my Christmas lesson: Nobody makes Christmas for you.

So it was then I started downloading some Christmas tunes, and thinking how to get the party on, calling friends for some merrymaking, putting on a red shirt, searching the TV for Xmas movies…that kind of stuff.

It wasn’t a case of too little too late, it worked, though I’ve been forced to extend our Xmas right through New Year’s. The point is it was a valuable lesson, especially as I grow older/up, and think about starting a family of my own, I realize that the responsibility falls on one’s own house to gear up the holidays. Next year I won’t be caught unawares.

In fact I’m getting ready for the Christmas mash-up, of Canadian/Italian/Belgian (or wherever) traditions.

We’ll be able to bring the traditional Italian Christmas Eve meal of fish wherever we go. And tombola, which is Italian Bingo.

Also for Holiday longevity we’ve got, if we stay in the Lowcountries time from the 6th of December until the 6th of January.

Because December 6th is when Sinterklaas and his horrifically racist sidekick caricature Zwaart Piet come and give presents and pepernoten to Dutch and Belgian kids who are good.

Those who were bad Piet throws in a sack and takes to Spain (The horror!)

On the 25th Santa comes, he’s like Sinterklaas only fat and without the ancient tradition steeped in bigotry. Also bringing presents. He rides a sleigh towed by flying reindeer.

Then on the 6th of January Befana comes. She’s a witch, she rides a broom and brings candy and presents for the stockings. Stockings put by the stove in this case, not the fireplace.

That’s plenty of late-night visitors from around the world to spoil kids rotten. Right now it sounds great to me, though after kids and credit card bills Sinter, Santa, and Befana’s legendary generosity might be tempered by modern, intercultural realities.