Let's Talk about Christmas (or whatever winter holiday you celebrate) - Page 3


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Thread: Let's Talk about Christmas (or whatever winter holiday you celebrate)

  1. #21
    I bought and wrapped a few more gifts and ordered most of the rest of my gifts online. I also hand-washed my sequin-y Christmas top. I am getting there!

    My goal is to do at least one thing per day for Christmas until it's all as done as it can be at the time. I have most of Thanksgiving dinner in my freezer and pantry now but after that, I can do the same with Christmas dinner.

  2. #22
    When you live alone, sometimes the very idea of decorating for Christmas is a challenge, so I only have a few things in my apartment. I try to stay busy; go to lunch with friends, send out Christmas cards of course. I knit and crochet all year long for the "gift giving" at Thanksgiving Dinner. I bring a basket full of scarves, hats and mittens - all unique and made by me - and the eleven grandchildren and four children have at. It's worked well the last couple of years, so I will continue on. I go to one of two daughters' in town for Thanksgiving and Christmas dinners. This year we are 15 people (my youngest daughter and family from Minnesota are coming too), so I'm having lunch in my tiny apartment the day before Thanksgiving for everyone. I have seating for six, but who cares? Even though I really love Christmas, I always feel a sense of relief when its over and a new year is beginning.
    When the night has come
    And the land is dark
    And the moon is the only light we'll see
    I won't be afraid, no I won't be afraid
    Just as long as you stand by me.


  3. #23
    I have a tiny tree that I put up every year, but I think I've lost a bit of the ornaments, though I haven't retrieved any of the decorations from the shed yet. I tend to save it for the last minute. (In contrast to my neighbors who already have their tree up haha)

    The hardest part of Christmas is the schedule because we celebrate on Christmas Eve, and so do a lot of family and friends, so attending everyone's celebrations can be very busy. However, it's probably my favorite part of the holidays. My family is small and dispersed, so it's nice to get everyone together.

  4. #24
    I buy crackers, although my angel thinks that she actually paid for them this year, but nevertheless I am the one who insists on having crackers. We often say that Christmas is just Sunday lunch with a cracker. However, we do put up decorations and have a tree, although nowadays it is an artificial one. (See my angel's recent blog Merry Chainsaw Massacre.) We do not go out of our way to be sociable but are just sociable with those who come our way; on the whole we prefer just to have each other's company if any at all, so what purpose does celebration of the winter solstice actually serve?

    The first problem is that word "winter". Whether it is down to global warming, central heating and home insulation or just our false memories, but we don't seem to get traditional winters like those back in our childhood. The most consistent sign of winter here is that the trees still drop their leaves and look bare, but then nature's habits haven't changed that much ... yet. So, at Christmas now we can only reminisce about looking at the beautiful frost patterns on our bedroom windows and listening to carol singers in the street below because the modern double glazing stops the frost forming and keeps out the sound of the singers, who consequently don't even walk the streets any more. Apart from the appearance of the trees the main feature of winter is the abrupt shortening of daylight hours around the solstice, but with modern lighting that doesn't seriously curtail our activities, far more of which are now indoors anyway.

    The next problem is that word "holiday". My angel and I are now long retired (although her profile here states that ladies never retire), so the concept of a holiday doesn't really apply. In fact to us it can only mean curtailing the activities that we usually want or feel driven to do. We already have a routine for doing that though as we try to "keep Sunday special" every week, not in a religious way but simply by giving priority to keeping each other company for much of it rather than doing our own things separately or dealing with the demanding matters in everyday life. So, no holiday and most likely no winter, so what's left?

    I only write greetings cards to the ladies in my life and there aren't many of those now. My angel writes the cards to her wider connections and people she feels we ought to include. Apart from her I have two sisters and a niece and perhaps one other, so just five cards to write but no presents to send as we are all far too old to expect them. Family connections are best dealt with when it makes sense to, not when society dictates that we ought to, so who else is there to think about?

    For some people nowadays it is Christmas all year round and for others it never is, not unless the former give them some thought. Therefore we regard Christmas as a time for others and I donate to a charity that supports the homeless. In fact they are currently reminding me to make a donation this year. They provide homeless people not just with Christmas meals and accommodation over the holiday but also all the amenities that they lack throughout the rest of the year, such as haircuts, medical and dental checkups, baths and fresh clothes and advice on how to get back into mainstream society. Most of all though they give them the opportunity to socialise, to indulge in the sorts of activities that more fortunate people take for granted. In the reports that the charity sends to its supporters this seems to be the most appreciated aspect, simply having the chance to socialise; life on the streets can be very lonely with nobody to trust or rely on. Yes, to me Christmas is something that a number of nameless other people get to enjoy because I don't need to that much.

    When I was working Christmas was a sad and in a way lonely time of year in the office for me because I saw my colleagues getting enthusiastic about its coming, going to the pub for drinks at lunchtimes and generally getting more relaxed about life while I just felt more and more isolated. I was happy for them but not within myself, so Christmas during my working life was not something to reminisce about. In contrast childhood Christmases were, but then they were long before we had it all year round.

    I was a child in the post-WWII years when rationing was still being phased out in Britain, so almost nobody had it all ever. Also my father ran the house in that proud upper working class fashion, as a performance to impress those outside the immediate family. Hence we had, in both the physical and theatrical senses, the front of house and back of house, two very different domains. We lived in the smaller back room while the larger front room was the image that we presented to the outside world. There was the piano that was seldom played and my father's bureau for his paperwork, the finely upholstered three piece suite upon which few people sat and the chiming clock on the polished wood surround to a fireplace that very seldom had a fire burning. There was also later a well filled cocktail cabinet containing bottles of spirits that never ran out because they were never, or very seldom, drunk. A grand feature of that cabinet was the internal light that came on when it was opened, a virtual technological marvel in our home. Also there was a set of encyclopedias that he had bought for me and placed in a special book rack that he had himself made to hold them on an occasional table, but they were as much a status symbol to impress visitors as a source of information for me. The front room was reserved for special purposes, such as dad's business visitors, my sisters' encounters with their boyfriends and my reading of those prized encyclopedias, but little else. It was a stage set for how we should appear to live, not how we actually did. The one exception was Christmas.

    In the build-up to Christmas all the goodies that weren't available the rest of the year were stashed in the front room and it was decorated and a tree installed. Then when the holiday actually started dad would light the fire in the grate that remained cold throughout the rest of the year and we would move into what was to us virtually another home despite being only a few feet away from the room where we spent the rest of the year. Just for a few days the suite was sat on, family members did their best to play the piano and the contents of the cocktail cabinet were drunk. In fact before the coming of the cabinet a corner of the room was reserved for all the bottles of drink accumulated just for Christmas. We ate things that weren't available the rest of the year and drank drinks that we wouldn't touch except then. As a child I was amazed by the unfamiliar sights, sounds, tastes and smells that appeared within our own house, my senses being so keen in those days. In comparison nowadays with food imported so easily from around the world we can eat anything at any time of the year we choose and, for those of us more fortunate, can also afford to buy it whenever we want. One of my most cherished memories of those Christmases past was going into the front room when the light was out and seeing the tree lit up in the darkness and smelling the pine needles and a mixture of aromas of so many different drinks hanging in the air with the smell of the embers in the fireplace. Nowadays my sense of smell isn't very good and so many emotions are associated with smells that there is a whole dimension missing from my life as a consequence, so of course I cherish such memories when I look at our Christmas tree in our darkened living room.

    We still have an open fireplace in our home and regularly have log fires in the cold days of winter, not particularly to supplement our adequate central heating but maybe just for the sake of nostalgia. And of course nowadays we use every square foot of our small home and there cannot possibly be a front of house merely for appearances. In a way while we are far more affluent than our parents ever were we have lost something, maybe a sense of occasion, but that is as much the effect of modern pell-mell lifestyles with their jam today mentality as our personal situation, so what is there left for Christmas except thinking of others less fortunate and giving them a few good memories of their own to keep their spirits up throughout the rest of the year?
    'Sharing an experience creates a reality.' Create a new reality today.
    'There has to be some give and take.' If I can take my time I'm willing to give it.
    'The most difficult criticism that a writer has to comprehend is silence.' So speak up.

  5. #25
    And I have finished buying Christmas gifts. Woo hoo!

  6. #26
    I just donated to our local homeless shelter.
    My wife finished packing two shoeboxes full of goodies for "Operation Christmas Child". Mostly dollar-store items, but for some kid in a "developing world" area, they'll appreciate it. And they'll know that someone cares.

    "Wubba Lubba Dub Dub!"



  7. #27
    Making progress here. Wrapped more presents, for Christmas and winter birthdays. The charity stuff is ready to go as well. And the Thanksgiving food is bought.

  8. #28
    I am now all done with the gift wrapping.

  9. #29
    All that remains to be done here is to clean the house; put up the small, easy artificial tree and the projector outside "lights"; and pick up the fresh (as opposed to freezer or pantry) Christmas dinner items. So it is under control, woo hoo.

    How is everyone else doing with it?

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