From The AGE

December 24, 2011

Illustration by Michael Leunig, Christmas 2011, The AGE

Illustration by Michael Leunig, Christmas 2011, The AGE

Christmas comes to urban Australia and up go the decorations – the holly and reindeer motifs, the sleighs, the Santas and snowflakes – the same old incongruous wintry symbols, reminding Australians that their summer is well under way and the year is fading fast. The lives of little pine trees are cut short and hung with baubles.


Electric fairy lights wink like shopkeepers’ eyes in dark suburban streets. Buskers wearing plastic reindeer horns murder carols in the street; mournfully hitting the wrong notes of Christmas on tarnished trumpets and creaking violins; a fitting soundtrack for the work of mental health professionals and police who are busy attending to the upsurging emotions and woes that come with the season of joy.


Mysterious sad yearning and loneliness emerge out of nowhere to alight on the unsuspecting, mingling with goodwill, alcohol and hope as the weariness and eeriness of the year pull at the heartstrings or loosen the purse strings.