Christmas and all that stuff

11 Dec

I was five years old, nearly six, when my sister, nearly three years older, ratted on our parents and told me that there was no Father Christmas. She woke me up and told me that my father would come in about midnight with a pillowcase full of smaller presents. And so I was awake and able to watch the ceremony through barely open eyes in the semi-dark. My parents maintained the fiction and did not realise that they had been rumbled. It seemed cruel to let them know that I knew, so I maintained the fiction that I believed. I observed the same behaviour from the daughter of a friend when I played Father Christmas at the Christmas Fair for the local primary school. This girl was well aware who I was, but never breathed a word. So why do we maintain this deception? The general wisdom is that we do it for the children!

Let’s not pretend that there is any serious connection between a midwinter festival and a Christian Religious holiday. There is nothing in the gospels to indicate the time of year the birth occurred. It was only during Roman times that it was placed in the calendar around the shortest day. The midwinter feast was yuletide, or just Yule. I’ll take this opportunity to wish you all a merry yuletide. I have been complaining about the importation of Christmas iconography for decades now. Have a look at the illustrations in Dickens’ ‘A Christmas Carol,’ and observe that the Ghost of Christmas Past wears a green costume. This links in well to the myth of the Green Man. When I discussed this with a friend he slightly misunderstood what I was talking about, believing that I had been converted to some kind of wiccan belief. Is it really necessary to swap one illogical belief for another? The only benefit I can get from the old traditions is s sense of place. It might be rubbish, but at least it is our rubbish.

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