Sunday, 22 November 2015

Christmas.


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Why do people make such a bloody fuss about Christmas? I'm not a bah-humbug person, BUT.....

Let's face it, it's NOT Christ's birthday, although when his birthday actually was no-one seems to have a clue. Maybe he never had one. Maybe the imaginary virgin birth produced an imaginary child.

So why do we seem to go mad just because of some trumped-up date in the middle of Winter?

Personally I think that the Pagans should reclaim Saturnalia as our major celebration of Winter, and return December 25th to being a date that everyone can celebrate, regardless of race or religion.

I agree that it's nice to have a fixed day to look forward to each year. Decorations and special foods are always fun, and communal festivities bring people together.

But the crazy commercialisation of Christmas has the effect of blackmailing the poorest and most gullible of society. Those who can least afford it (percentage-wise of income) become the ones who spend the most.

Small token gifts are fine, as is a reasonably priced Turkey that will last a family for several days, but many are made to feel guilty if they don't spend a bloody fortune on Aunty Maud, Uncle Bill, and little Wayne and Chelsee.

And PLEASE, can we not start talking of nothing else until December 20th at the very earliest; it's bad enough having to see all those bloody rows of Santa-covered boxes of chocolates on sale at the supermarket.

Having said all that, we shall be celebrating Christmas next Wednesday (November 25th). We are having a Veggie Banquet before Wills, Kellogg, and Bunny head off for their winter sojourn in Surfer's Paradise, Oz.

Happy something or other.



52 comments:

  1. I wish we had Christmas here, i like all the fuss about it, we celebrate it here sometimes for the german not jewish part of the family but we lack the atmosphere around.

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  2. I like Christmas too, but I can't stand all the hype!

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  3. As a pagan household we omit the christ mass and our big mid winter celebration starts on Winter Solstice.This year her Ladyship is giving a lecture on the subject in one of the local towns.

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    1. I'm a little surprised that you don't celebrate Saturnalia.

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    2. I have never heard of Saturnalia (Saturday something?) I do a light celebration for winter solstice and call it different things depending who asks, but it is never Christmas.

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    3. Saturnalia was the original Pagan winter festival that was celebrated on Dec 25th. It was hijacked by the Christians as their big day so that both groups could celebrate on the same day. Eventually it became a totally Christian affair.

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  4. Christmas in Spain is usually a quiet family affair and January 6th - Three Kings - is the "big" celebration when children have their gifts.
    When we first came to live here many years ago, it was amazing how very quiet the run-up to Christmas was - and impossible to buy anything remotely festive. That's changed now, but it's still nowhere nearly as frantic as the UK - thank goodness. It's now possible to buy all the traditional British seasonal goodies at Iceland in a nearby town.

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    1. Christmas here used to be non-existent, preferring to celebrate the New Year. Now everything from Halloween to Christmas to New Year is given overkill. January 6th is the date on which we Wassail. No-one else does around here; they must think we're nuts.

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  5. I like Christmas Eve starting at 6pm when I listen to Carols from Kings College Cambridge and I like Christmas Day. That's it. I make my own decorations every year and I am formulating some ideas in my head now. So I suppose I do think about Christmas early after all.

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    1. I've already been making my crackers and silly hats, but that's only because we're having 2 Christmases this year. Like you, I think a 2 day Christmas is plenty.

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  6. We decorate no earlier than December 15 and it all comes down on the New Year. Boxing Day is much more anticipated in this house... silly gifts in boxes. Oh, and food served in boxes a la Chinese restaurants.

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    1. I'm not quite sure what we're doing this year as I'll decorate for our veggie Christmas. I suppose I'll just leave everything in place until the real one comes around. We take all ours down on 12th night, which also happens to be the day we go Wassailing.

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  7. You've done the house up nice, Cro...
    EDF will love the extra cash from all those little, twinkly, nerve-wrackingly random lights...
    you'll beat the local pharmacy for a migrane inducing display...
    have you got the muzaK blaring from tinny speakers?

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    1. Like you, I hate all the razzmatazz that surrounds Christmas...
      surprisingly, our local supermarchés HAVEN'T started playing canned... ENGLISH... "Xmas" muzak yet..
      last year the damned stuff was dominant from the beginning of November!!
      Yesterday, we were treated to the great Mr. Jones doing a couple of his very up-beat '90s-style non-Xmas numbers...
      then Edith "Moineau" regretting nothing...
      there were others, but all forgettable...
      BUT all non-xmas.
      Christmas should be a quiet family affair...
      then go mad on Boxing Day!!
      Then as you clear up the mess... take all the decorations down...
      and stuff them back under the stairs.
      We have a forty-year old artificial tree and some lights of similar vintage...
      the tinsel garland for the tree is newer... the old one began to loose bits of tinsel...
      we went green this time...
      to match the tree!
      Happy 25th... whichever month you choose...
      mine's April!

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    2. I have one winter job that so far has taken me several years. We have an unruly Leylandii hedge, the tops of which make perfect Christmas trees. So, you see, I can't just go trimming all the tops off, what would we do in 2016 and 2017, and 2018, etc?

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  8. I've been turning off lights all year so that our Christmas decorations can BLAZE from the 1st Sunday in Dec to 5th Jan. Outdoors, my 'tree' on the balcony has more lights than the Commune! I can't wait.
    We buy the chocs early for the holiday and then eat them and have to buy more.
    My only regret about the festive season in France is that the bakers don't have mincepies. My efforts are always dire.

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    1. We had our first mince pies last night; my only gripe was that Lady M hadn't added enough Armagnac to the mix.

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  9. Agree totally about Christmas or whatever you choose to call it.
    When you have your Veggie Banquet could you please post some veggie ideas - I have a veggie comingfor lunch on Boxing Day and always feel stuck for ideas.

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    1. Lady M is making a layered vegetable and nut tureen, and I'm making roast red peppers stuffed with flageolet beans mushrooms chestnuts and dried apricots. All to be served with roast vegs sprouts etc. All rather hit-n-miss, but it sounds OK.

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    2. I found a very tasty sounding veggie flan in our (Spanish) Lidl magazine. It uses their goats cheese, and fresh vegetables, so can easily be adapted. It also use their brand flaky pastry - non veggie variety alas - but I don't think there is an exact equivalent. It could be that the same recipe has appeared in the English version magazine too. Let me know if you want the details.

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    3. Thanks for that. In fact Lady M is using a recipe from a book we have called 'Veggie Chic'. I wouldn't dare to try to suggest anything different.

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  10. Very funny thinking of you avoiding the canned English Christmas music in your supermarkets. I can easily go round our shops not listening and not looking at seasonal stuff but I must be odd as everyone else is moaning about it.

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    1. That was Tim above (La Pré delaForge) complaining, although I must say I agree with him. It's only on entering the shops that I notice it all; I soon shut down, and become oblivious.

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  11. Christmas is family, so why should it matter when you get together. I am sick of TV ad's, we love Christmas but in an old fashioned family way, it should be in December only, my poor grandsons are hyper already. On Friday driving home from work we passed a house fully of bloody Christmas lights, already!. PS I hate the XMAS word!

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    1. It drives me nuts, all this commercialisation. I try to avoid it, but it's impossible.

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  12. Hooray, some sense at last. I do not like Christmas now, I used to love it in the past when it was just a couple of days and the preparation was just a couple of weeks before. I remember at home (years ago. ha ha) we didn't even put the decs up until Christmas Eve and my Dad came in with the chicken that same evening having gone to the market to buy it in an auction type sale. Note I say chicken, they were not 2 a penny then.
    We had just a few presents each and a day filled with games and fun. the post was still coming through the letterbox until late in the evening and the cards were unique and beautiful. I could go on but I don't want to be a bore.
    Briony
    x

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    1. My childhood Christmases were wonderful; so totally different to nowadays. My mother used to go a bit crazy, and I remember even then thinking it was all a bit much, but I loved it anyway.

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  13. We have had nothing whatsoever to do with Christmas for several years now.
    I refer to it as the 'annual commercial festival of greed and gluttony', which pretty much sums it up for me.
    I'm not religious, see no need to celebrate something I don't believe in, and refuse to do anything on the basis that 'everyone does it'.
    It wouldn't be so bad if it began on the 24th Dec and ended on the 26th, but it's the relentless barrage of bullshit that kicks in from late September that really gets to me.

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    1. I refer to it as 'Turkeyfest', which is what it is for us. We don't really buy each other expensive gifts etc. We just have a pleasant day.

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  14. We observe the eight Celtic rituals Cro, Saturnalia is Roman.

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    1. I'll remember to wish you a pleasant Yule.

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  15. I'm enjoying all the comments. I hate all the consumer Christmas madness here in the States. It seems to go on forever and the greed and marketing and crazy expectations are disgusting. I just want a simple affair with family and good friends that only lasts a few days.

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    1. Exactly. Can't we start a protest group?

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  16. Hear hear. The obsession with Christmas from at least a month beforehand, and the pressure to spend spend spend on anything remotely Christmas related - mince pies, decorations, presents, pine trees, plastic icicles etc - is maddening. All the frantic activity associated with "getting ready for Christmas" means that by the time it arrives we're all totally exhausted and all we want to do is fall asleep for 24 hours.

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    1. It's at least TWO months beforehand here. Yuk.

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    2. Quite a few friends in the UK have assured me that they are well ahead with all their Christmas shopping, card writing etc.. just trying to beat the rush. One or two have admitted to buying their Christmas cards as soon as they come into the shops......in August !

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  17. No fuzz about Christmas in my family. We spend for about 5 years now our Christmas evening either with homeless people , eating, singing and playing society games together or in hospitals with people without family or abondend.by their family.It's a wonderful experience and for me and my family (no religion) , the real spirit of Xmas.

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    1. Good for you; you've gone up in my estimation!

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  18. Ah, I put up my post before reading yours, Cro - honest!

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    1. And I put up mine before reading yours. Christmas is a-coming....

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  19. It's really getting overboard now the shopping centers are charging $10. to visit Santa, make it $20. if you want a portrait... Now with kids will have to stay away if they don't want to pay and see their kids crying and screaming to go sit on Santa...Now days It's all turned into an endless cash pit.

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    1. One thing we still don't have here in France is a Santa on every corner. I expect it'll come, but for the moment the only one to be seen around here is ME on Christmas Eve when I deliver presents to the local children.

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  20. Personally I've had enough of Christmas to do me a lifetime but I've got grandchildren.

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  21. I do prefer our local French Christmas to the British style - apart from our pensioners' lunch on the last Sunday in November (next week, yum yum!) it doesn't really get going until the after the first week of December, and that does very nicely for me: pleasant anticipation rather than expensive hysteria!

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    1. My village has stopped the Oldies Lunch. I went a couple of times (by default) and couldn't hear a word anyone was saying. Bad acoustics and too much liquid cheer!

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  22. I love holidays because it brings family and friends together. Life is short and we need to celebrate as often as possible and let people know how much we love them. Everybody hates the commercial part of it, but everyone loves the lights and the message of joy. I hope you have a wonderful vegetable dinner and November party with your beautiful family, Cro.

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    1. Yes, we all love the good bits, but are force-fed the bad. We must learn to ignore the commercialisation.

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  23. I think there are two things at work here. One is that commercialism like a good frenzy because it sells more stuff. The other is because humans need festivals, and in the western world we have very few now. As an OBOD druid, we celebrate eight a year, linked to the sun or seasons, and this means every six weeks or so we reconnect to loved ones and what matters, and to the land. In Oz, it is even sillier to be sitting down to big roasted dinners on a roasting summer day, with fake snow on our imported pine trees, but we do it. I don't mind. If it's going to be one of our few societal festivals, I'll do my best to have at it with good cheer. I don't buy into the commercial side, though.

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    1. I've had my annual moan now. The people I feel sorriest for are those who can afford all the hype. They take-out crazy loans in order to buy half a tonne of coloured plastic for their kids, then have to pay it off until the following Christmas.

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    2. I meant CAN'T afford all the hype.

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