Dark Side of Christmas

My mother has a problem, and I’m starting to have grave concerns for her welfare. Namely, she can’t stop Christmas shopping. If she’s not searching for ‘stocking stuffers’, she’s picking up a new light-up lawn ornament she ordered from a catalogue at the post office. Or else she’s relentlessly shopping for European biscuits and expensive jars of cashew cheese in pomegranate olive oil, ‘just in case someone pops over unexpectedly’ – as if she doesn’t already have a pantry full of festive snacks.

The worst bit is that she acts like it’s not a problem, even though the effects on her health are plain to see. She’s run off her feet, literally, but she just uses it as an excuse to stock up on seasonal foot care treatments. Cheltenham, apparently, is a local hot spot for buying things such as pine oil spa salts and cranberry cuticle cream. Who knew? Mum knows, of course – she’s walked up and down the main street enough times now, it’d be shocking if she didn’t know the contents of the chemist’s window back to front. 

What I’m more concerned about is the risk of her picking up fungal nail infections. Around Melbourne, it can get pretty humid at this time of year, with people going around in sweaty sandals and thongs and the like. Now, that’s all well and good, but whenever mum goes Christmas shopping she invariably ends up at the local shoe boutique. It’s the hub of her addiction, where it all comes together. 

I’ve seen with my own eyes what goes on there – shoe fiends sliding out of their soggy sandals and straight into a pair of quirky heels, without so much as putting on those little stocking thingies you’re supposed to wear when trying on shoes. I’ve pleaded with mum to at least use these herself, but to no avail. 

I don’t know where to turn from here. I love my mum, but I can’t bear to sit through another Christmas dinner where she announces that she thinks she might have toenail fungus.