REAL AUSTRALIA

Paul Kelly, the Boxing Day Test, resting gift face and the time for a rethink on Christmas

Voice of Real Australia is a regular newsletter from Australian Community Media, which has journalists in every state and territory. Sign up here to get it by email, or here to forward it to a friend. Today's is written by Northern Daily Leader journalist Jacob McArthur.

HO HO NO: Santa Claus and his very traditional band of Scottish pipers. Photo: Peter Hardin

HO HO NO: Santa Claus and his very traditional band of Scottish pipers. Photo: Peter Hardin

Paul Kelly has a written a song about Christmas which is better than How to Make Gravy.

He has also written a song about cricket which is better than Bradman.

Better than Bradman is a phrase which always requires a very compelling case of evidence.

Plus, Mr Kelly's gravy recipe contained in a chorus-free ditty set in a prison cell oddly seems to speak to a lot of people in real Australia with increasing voracity each year.

Now I'm going to add my own "dollop of tomato sauce" to this piece and blow your mind.

Paul Kelly's superior Christmas and cricket tunes are one in the same.

Yep, Behind the Bowler's Arm wins both races in a canter.

How's that feel on the palette?

Mainly because it contains the line "I can't wait for Christmas time, because the day after is Boxing Day."

Christmas is a bit crap. How's that for a chaser?

It has more contretemps than a bloated belly full of beer and problematic pork which has been sitting on the bench too long.

There's a lot of expectation on December 25 and a lot of preparation to impossibly ensure perfection for one day.

The level of expectation has got to a point where a breakfast 'news' show brought in a presumed expert to coach polite facial expressions in the event a present doesn't hit the mark.

An age old move from the civilised consumer's playbook known as "resting gift face".

However, Mr Kelly's ode to the Boxing Day Test, for me, is about more than cricket.

He sings hopefully about witnessing a bowling spell of wizardry or a masterful display of batting, if he's lucky.

"But probably nothing much will happen at all."

It sums up cricket pretty well.

But the song tells us it's okay to just spend time together, especially now.

Drop the expectation and be grateful the person sitting next to you on Boxing Day is spending their time, not their money.

Whether you're opening the batting at the MCG on Boxing Day or finally relaxing with the ones you love, time is the most valuable gift of all.

Jacob McArthur, journalist, Northern Daily Leader

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