Marta Christmas is like Santa with the fun sucked out. The festive equivalent of a grumbling cold sore, ready to crack and rain down on the sparkling charade.
To the untrained eye, Marta is the epitome of seasonal cheer, bedecked with bauble beads and alpine footwear, a soft burgundy knit beneath a fir green jerkin. She and her home will both smell of spiced satsuma, ginger and fig from early December and the tinkling of medieval harpsichord music will burst forth from her iPod shuffle as she trudges back from the market in the snow with her hessian bags bursting with celeriac.
Her decorations are handcrafted, the snacks are homemade, the gifts are ethical and the turkey probably sauntered into the oven of it's own accord due to it's gratefulness for such an organic life thus far. It probably stuffed it's own arse with apricots and wholemeal bread on the way in, raising a juanty wing as the solar powered oven door slammed shut.
Marta's children will be pale and exhausted from all the extra-curricular fun. The carol concerts, the costume making for the old folks home nativity, the cards sent to everyone in the class because even snot faced Shiloh deserves one, because it's charitable, because I FRICKING SAID SO BECAUSE HIS MUM'S ON THE FRICKING COMMITTEE.
Marta's life partner usually tries to hide at this time of year, bracing himself for the inevitable meltdown on Christmas Eve because I FRICKING SAID CHESTNUTS, NOT FRICKING KP NUTS. He tries to keep calm with intravenous craft ale and something natural in a rizla. His default state of being is one of a frightened field mouse sensing the ever-nearing whirr of a combine harvester.
Marta doesn't accept help from anyone, even though every other hour in her life is timetabled to the nth degree. She probably timetables some time for timetabling. But she WILL be happy at Christmas BECAUSE WE'RE TIMETABLED TO RELAX. She will be menstruating, with the pain at it's peak, but she'll have run out of St John's Wort and chamomile douche. This catastrophe will be exacerbated by the realisation that her new Mooncup, ordered from Naturesflange.com, won't be arriving until the next new moon.
Marta is notoriously hard to buy for. What do you give the girl who has pickled her own placenta? A jumper for a goat in Nova Scotia would be a good call. Or some colouring pencils for a recovering alcoholic. As long as none of the above have travelled further than five miles from the homestead and ruined this year's carbon footprint.
In terms of gifts-received, well, you never really can be sure. The only certainty is that it will have been prepared in spring and housed in a kilner jar with twine wrapped around it. You will accept the gift graciously before handing over your literal plastic poo from the joke shop, encased in non-biodegradable foil, which seemed a hilarious idea when you went shopping after spending two hours in the Christkindl Gluhwein Hut in town.
Halfway through Dry January, skint and desperate, you will venture to the back of the kitchen cupboard to retrieve the jar with string. At this very same time, while fermenting the leftover harissa, Marta will recall where she accidentally put her Mooncup in March.