A back breaking Christmas?

Why do women do it? I’m talking about the breaking up of the house before Christmas.

They will remove the curtains and either put up bed sheets or leave the windows bare. They will empty the cabinets, remove and wash the carpets, clean the house from top to bottom, paint, lacquer, remodel, reupholster chairs among other things.

culture boxThese back-breaking tasks start sometime around the beginning of December. When the cleaning is completed, the furniture in the house remains all packed away until Christmas Eve.

During this time, the shopping takes place: new curtains are a must, along with and matching tablecloth and bed sheets. If the budget can accommodate new chairs, then the old ones are not reupholstered. A new centre table might suffice if no chairs are being bought. Then there are the vases and flowers (plastic), perhaps a new carpet or at the very least, new mats. They are all stored away to be brought out on Christmas Eve.

The old broken television that only works because a piece of tape is applied to a crucial spot is finally thrown out to make way for the large new flat screen appliance. The fridge that caused the repairman to change his phone number and hide whenever he saw its owner approaching his premises, is replaced with a spanking new appliance.

The smells that attend this period are of paint, varnish, polish or bleach. The kitchen or bedroom or bathroom that needed painting or tiling or polishing that could have and should have been done since June, finally gets done in December.

And then the anticipation builds.

On Christmas Eve, the ‘putting away’ starts. Some people start from early in the morning and if they are lucky, they get it done by nightfall. Those who have to work must wait until they get home to begin.

The carpet is rolled out and the chairs set. The decorations are hung or placed in designated areas. Beds are made, tablecloth laid and table set. Last but certainly not least is the big reveal: the news curtains come out of their hiding place and are hung at the windows as the final bit of spit and polish is applied and the home looks spanking new for Christmas.

So why do women do it? Two women who insist that they used to but no longer wait for Christmas Eve say they know and understand why having been there once themselves. It’s for the satisfaction of having that new house feeling for Christmas. They say not much tops the pleasure of watching their children’s eyes grow round with wonder as they take it all in.

So why have they stopped? They have spent too many Christmas days exhausted beyond measure. Because with all of the decorating and cleaning, Christmas breakfast, lunch and dinner—all special meals with extras—still have to be prepared and there’s cakes to be baked and gifts to be purchased and wrapped.

Nowadays they get the ‘fixing up’ of the house out of the way early. But they know women, and perhaps some of you reading this fit the bill, who will never do it any other way.

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