It’s the most “wonderful” time of the year.

This is the time of year when it occurs to me that people who live in the Southern Hemisphere have a definite advantage over those of us in the north.

It’s the advantage of celebrating Christmas in the summer.

I know that northern Christmas culture posits snow as an integral part of the season, but let’s face it: the fact that we celebrate a major holiday in the winter also causes problems. It means traffic jams and crashes on snowy streets at nighttime because everyone needs to make a lot of shopping trips in December. It means there’s a mad rush on the airlines when flights are most likely to be cancelled due to weather. If we could just keep the winter as a time when nobody was expected to go anywhere or do anything special, the snow would be so much more fun.

It also means lots of people spend several stressful days travelling in cold weather and getting cooped up with dozens of weird relatives they choose not to see for the rest of the year. And I don’t care what anyone says about how it’s not the cold, wet weather that makes people get sick, it’s being stuck inside with everyone else and their germs: it’s also the weather. Spend a lot of time feeling cold, and you’re a lot more likely to get sick. Spend a lot of time feeling cold and stressed, and your immune system is going to abandon its post.

Then the holiday ends, but the chest cold doesn’t, and the employers can’t just let their workers take sick days after holidays, because they might abuse the policy just to extend their vacation time. This is all a long-winded way of saying that my Christmas was just fine, but now I am stuck in an office full of sick people. Oh, and have I mentioned on this blog that I’m extremely averse (and sensitive) to noises such as coughing, nose-sniffing, nose-blowing, throat-clearing, and loogey-hocking? The order of annoyance is approximately: light sniffing, nose-blowing, congested sniffing, dry coughing, wet coughing, throat-clearing, and phlegm-horking. I should probably be a lot more concerned about sitting in close proximity to a lot of contagious germs, but since I’m neurotic, and happen to be seated within spitting distance of the restrooms, where everyone seems to think they can hork without anyone else hearing it (and they are mistaken), I really just want to get away from the nasal noises and phlegm issues. They’re a lot worse than usual this week.

Australia and New Zealand look really nice this time of year.