The (ridiculously) rapid-fire approach of Christmas was what got me thinking along this track, about how some spare time would make the festive season well, a little more festive. I used to have quite a bit. In fact I distinctly remember a time, about fourteen, fifteen years ago, where I actually had a practice run with the kid's stockings - just to make sure everything would fit nicely. Nowadays I just stock up on $2 socks to fill any last-minute gaps. But back then I also spent lazy hours making paper chains with them, alternating green and red, or wrapping chocolate in tissue paper and alfoil to hang on the tree, or making individual salad baskets - wrapped in cellophane with gold ribbon - for each of the rabbits. Seriously.
Then there's the entire week I spent one year painting a Jungle Book mural through the toilet, with Mowgli astride a fern-laden tree branch, and Kaa the snake wrapped around the cistern, and the elephant major marching along one wall, and a trio of monkeys gambolling on the back of the blackened door. Or the following week when, now inspired, I painted Possum Magic figures throughout our back room (aka 'the hole'), or the time I organised all the Lego into compartment-trays, or hand-made a skirt for the budgie cage that would match the dining-room curtains, or filled the matched set of five mahogany-brown photo albums, with each photo trimmed and labelled and accompanied by the occasional witty quip to lighten the nostalgia. Whereas for the last twelve years or so I've just shovelled photos into a crate on the top of my wardrobe, to be sorted 'later', and there are so many now that they spill over every time I open the door too enthusiastically and I am showered with slippery images of time past.