That time of the year

The signs had been there. The red and green beach balls. The notices from HR. The upcoming events. The planning, the organisation, the planning the organisation. My local magpie had told me the other day that the eastern koels were back, yapping on about their time spent in Queensland – it couldn’t wait for the koels to go back, since they thought it was so bloody good there. Or that’s what I imagined the magpie saying, as it squawked in my face on the balcony causing me to spill my morning eggnog.

It had been coming. This time I was more prepared. I had done the shopping, the careful filtering out of anything too tacky, too lavish, too unfair, too pink, too blue, too heavy, too cheap, too expensive, too immoral, too moral, too passé – a yo-yo and Tamagotchi just don’t cut it anymore. I had done the shopping, bought appropriately themed wrapping paper, felt both guilty and proud of the resulting packages, and shipped off the goodies with (hopefully) ample time. Then there were more trips to the post office to pick up gifts with cards from faraway relatives and well-wishers. The cards vie with the flowers for space on top of the piano; the gifts nestle beneath a tree comprised primarily of cardboard, green felt-tip pen marks and good intentions.

But it arrived today. Oops!… I did it again was my most listened to track of the year, a music streaming service informs me. These were the films I should have watched, a columnist lets me know. I open a little door to reveal a drawing of a festive animal in festive attire. I eat a square of chocolate. I race other programmers to solve a puzzle about calorie-counting elves. I wonder what the elves’ most listened to tracks of the year were. Joy to the world. The silly season is here.