Christmas 2017


Awesome-Colourful-Happy-Holiday-

I am writing this September 29 almost three full months until Christmas Day and have deliberately posted on this Special Day. I think that for the past several years, I have written something about Christmas although never three months before the actual event.

Usually, my writing has been about the commercialization of this time of the year when the significance of Christmas is lost in the chase for the almighty dollar which sadly still reigns supreme for most of the country.

This is the end of September and the first signs of this dollar madness is already showing with ads for Christmas shopping already beginning to appear. The big box stores are already selling Christmas decorations and they are only waiting for Thanksgiving to be over before decorating those stores.  A lot of families who have been paying off their last years Christmas debt are hoping to have enough space on the same credit cards to repeat the process for this year. As for the kids, this is America so get them what they want. They deserve it as they are only young once. Never mind that the family is in debt to pay for the expensive goodies but if their buddy or closest friend has one, then they must have one, whatever it is.

Well, you know what, I refuse to rant and rave about it this year as I have in previous years. This is a time of reflection, of taking a good long look within yourself to see just how you as an individual, measure up. It’s not about the expensive gifts and toys that are forgotten immediately the celebrations are over or about the one upmanship that sadly intrudes upon our lives. This is all about loving thy neighbor, the guy across the street or the homeless man on the street corner who can always use a helping hand. This is a season of giving if no more than a word of thanks.

Lets celebrate Christmas the way it should be by sharing a part of us with those not so fortunate and I can guarantee that not only will each and everyone of us feel just a little bit better but that the world is a little better place.

Happy Holidays to one and all.

Written 9/27/2017

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Christmas and growing up.


allsaintsstrichardsce

The Round School, Old Heathfield, England

When I was a young boy, many, many years ago growing up in England under the very difficult times of World War 11, Christmas had a whole different meaning than it does now.

My family was not particularly religious and never actively practised any faith as a family and for me, any contact that I had with religion was through my school and that was not very much. Sometimes, the whole school of probably not more than 50 kids of all ages, would visit the local protestant Church of England for a special services for this or that but that was the sum extent of my religious training. Although I have dabbled with several different religions over the years, I do not consider myself a very religious man.

ALL Saits Church

All Saints Church, Old Heathfield, England

Because of the shortages brought about by the War in Europe and also because traditionally, turkey was a real luxury, most English people would kill and cook a chicken from those that nearly every country household had. There would always be much preparation in the way of baking and cooking and mince pies and Christmas pudding were the order of the day. The Christmas pudding would contain silver sixpences so you had to be carefully not to bite down hard or you would risk losing or cracking a tooth, that is if you’re serving happened to have a sixpence. We made our own christmas decorations and went out to pick holly which we hung up indoors. If we were lucky enough to find mistletoe, it would be hung in the house and any unwary person would be subject to being kissed under the mistletoe, or maybe it was planned…

The same could be said about gifts nearly all of which would be handmade. A pair of knitted gloves or maybe a knitted scarf. Handmade wooden toys for the boys in the family and rag dolls for the girls. A really big item which my family did splurge on, were the christmas crackers that contained a novelty toy and a paper hat and these would be pulled at the Christmas Dinner. Everyone would wear their paper hats and blow the whistles and sing Christmas carols, or swap their toy for someone else’s and would create an atmosphere of fun and joviality.

pullingacracker

Pulling crackers

The point is that no one expected anything expensive in the way of gifts. Families would come together just to sit down and have a meal on Christmas Day. The adults would drink sherry or maybe a beer and everyone would revel in the company of the others around them. The war would be forgotten for a little while. There was no television to hamper the proceedings and no other diversions other than that what we made for ourselves. It was not a bit unusual for some of the male adults to take a nap in one of the more comfortable chairs following the meal while the women of the family would clean up and wash the dishes. The kids kept themselves busy with their new gifts or played games of hide and seek and other youthful activities.

Life was much simpler back then and even though the war was going on all around us, Christmas Day was still a very special day. It wasn’t about how many or how expensive were the toys or how sumptuous the meal or the decor and the lights. There was no one upmanship and there was no outside lighting decorating the house in an attempt to outdo the neighbors. We were just grateful to be together as a family or with neighbors and friends and at least for this period in time, the war was forgotten.

Now, 80 years later when I look back on life back then and think how simple it really was as compared to today, there is much to be said for living in an uncomplicated world. Even with the advances that mankind has made in technology, health and a general way of life, I wonder if I am any better off than back in those war torn years when life was so very uncomplicated.

I guess I shall never know the answer to that question.

mistletoe

Mistletoe