Ah, Christmas! I have very fond memories of my childhood in Devon, England.
On Christmas Eve the poor little tree was dug up from the garden, placed into a tub and wheelbarrow and brought to the door, set upon a table and decorated. The lights and the wreaths were then placed around the windows and garden.
It was magical as the village suddenly became transformed into a wonderland! The excitement was real and the good feelings did truly abound.
You’ll notice that I said Christmas Eve. There were no lights or trees or carols or any thought about Christmas until Christmas Eve. That’s the way the tradition used to be.
Unfortunately, we seem to have allowed the corporate entities to take over the one-time gentle season of contemplation, thanksgiving and love.
It has now been replaced with a smothering tidal wave of advertisements and early Christmas preparations that serve no real purpose except to goad us into spending more and wanting more for ourselves and acquiring more material goods at the expense of the real meaning of Christmas — altruism — and, for the religious amongst us, worship and tribute.
For sure, the messages of Christmas do creep in eventually, usually after the stores can no longer wring anything else out of us or we are simply too tired of the whole thing.
And it doesn’t stop there! Boxing Day, a fine traditional and charitable tradition, has now been replaced by extended shopping days, even audaciously renamed “Boxing Week” by the really insensitive.
We are encourage to begin spending again! Even to return the gifts that we were implored to buy one another in the first place!
Amidst all of these materialistic manifestations I feel sad sometimes as I truly feel something has been lost: the good feelings, the understated excitement that slowly builds until the magic of Christmas Eve.
We are not very good at understatement here and the danger is we therefore allow the clever advertisers to manipulate our very consciousness.
Well, I will try to stall the invasion and I will put up my lights on Christmas Eve and I’m not going to listen to the calls of “grinch” or “curmudgeon.”
I am simply keeping a treasured tradition alive, one of simpler times and good old days.
Keep the spirit.