It’s Christmas Eve again and I am still working at my accounts … it is some 172 years now since Mr Dickens introduced me to the Ghosts of Christmas and I have had time to contemplate my altered appreciation of this day. All those years of thinking have led me to some conclusions that I think it is now time to share with you …
Christmas is fun, I can say that now, but in recent years I fear it has been getting out of hand. So –
The name of the day. Back in 1843 it was a religious event and for some it perhaps still is but the real nature of the season has changed. Personally, I would prefer that we just have a come-one-come-all mid-winter festival somewhere around the winter solstice and let people call it what they will. The 25th of December is close enough to the turn of the year and celebrated widely enough that that is a good a date as any to share – but please, let’s have none of the sanctimonious preaching about this being solely a church thing that everyone else should butt out of. If you go to church that’s fine, but for most of us it’s really an occasion to have fun with friends and relatives and be glad that the days are lengthening once more.
Which is not to say that I am being humbuggy about the christian traditions. On the contrary, the music and other traditions of the church are wonderful – the music especially and we can all enjoy those without any obligation to believe in the rest of the package. Charpentier, Bach and a few others left us a great legacy for everyone. I love the music and listen to it endlessly on this new-fangled streaming thingy. I might be old, but I do keep up with the times.
Oh, and call it Christmas too. Whatever your background, beliefs and traditions. The 25th has been called that for long enough for the name to stick. I don’t like the “holidays” business. We all know what is meant by christmas, it’s just not the same meaning for everyone – and that’s fine.
Anyway – if you re-read Mr. Dickens story you will note that his christmas of 1843 was all about merrymaking and dancing and eating fat turkeys and geese. Being jolly.
But now we come to gifts. I have seen more christmases than anyone else on the planet now – I wasn’t young when I was visited by the ghosts so it’s well over 200 by this point I think. Anyway – far too many gifts are expected. I have no problem with gifts being given; I do, however, dislike gifts being expected. I believe gifts should be small and meaningful to the recipient rather than the giver, if given at all. Preferably, the gifts should be your friendship and care for others and not a big box of bling.
Give a welcome at the door, a warm fire, a fine meal, some music and dance and conversation. That should suffice for everyone. Who needs books and toasters and socks and fancy jewellery when you can buy those any time of the year you have the fancy to go shopping?
Give the gift of friendship.
Happy Christmas everyone