Why I like Christmas

When December Comes

So it's that time of year again...*groan*...Christmas...it's all so hypey, junk-mail inducing, wasteful, tiring, stressful, expensive, crowded, there's nowhere to park when you go out...and I don't really want to see It's a wonderful Life on TV...again.

Yet in spite of my default bah-humbug position on most things,I still like it. I always have. For me it's all wrapped up with deep-rooted positive feelings and memories stretching back to infancy - of warmth and security, colour and decorations, the tree, the excitement of anticipation, the end-of school, freedom, fun, long Summer holidays, the beach, people, music, delicious food, and a brand new year stretching ahead...a fresh start.

Christmas can be over-the-top, tacky and annoying...but I still like it
Christmas can be over-the-top, tacky and annoying...but I still like it | Source

Ghosts of Christmas Past

One of my earliest memories is being held up over my fathers shoulders to look at the Christmas decorations that were placed along the cornice work - deep red paper fans and green tinsel. I also vaguely remember one year we had an ice-cream cake Father Christmas, which was very unusual.

Of course it's true once you get to a certain age the magic dissipates. As a child I adored the build-up to Christmas Eve and when it finally arrived I went to bed early but could never sleep. We used to get our presents in a pillow-slip at the end of the bed..I can still retrieve the memory of that weight on my legs on Christmas morning when I awoke.

I used to share a room with my older sister and sometimes she would wake up before me and check out my pillow slip before I did. One year she found a toy Merry-Go-Round, intended for me, that she played with and broke before I woke up...and then, with great criminal acumen, buried it in the back yard. I don't remember, but evidently Mum and Dad were mystified and kept asking me if I was sure I looked right to the bottom of the pillow-slip..."are you certain Santa didn't leave something else in there?" Of course they couldn't say anything or that would blow the lid off the whole Santa thing. Her crime was never discovered and I only found this out years later through a guilty confession. I've never let her forget it!

It used to be family legend that one of my older brothers had actually seen the real Father Christmas. During a party one Christmas Eve when the children were asleep my father had dressed up as Santa as a joke and crept into the bedroom to deliver the goods late at night. My brother unexpectedly opened his eyes and said in a very serious voice.."hello Father Christmas". Dad said many years later that he got such a surprise to hear the little voice he quite freaked out about it.

I got freaked out too, when I was about four years old and was taken to the top floor of a city department store to meet Santa. He was an intimidating figure on a golden throne in the centre of what seemed to me a huge room and although he had a bag of toys by his side, when it came time for me to cross the room and say hello I wouldn't budge. Eventually my sister managed to coax me across the room but I remained cautious. There's a poignant photograph of my sister and I standing by his side (my sister in the middle) . My expression is sombre and Santa has two fingers firmly clutching my arm so i couldn't escape before the picture was taken.

We kept up the charade of Santa for years after I stopped believing but unfortunately as I moved toward adolescence the pillow slip got lighter and lighter until one year when I was about 14 it was very light indeed...much to my dissappointment and from then on I just got a regular one-present given to me like the adults.


Tradition...Europe in the Heat

Crazily, when we were growing up my mother always insisted on a full traditional, English Christmas dinner..with huge roast, plum pudding etc..often to her detriment. I remember one year she fainted while trying to cook a roast dinner for six in a tiny caravan while temperatures were 100 degrees in the shade. Not that I didn't enjoy them...I did.

My mother put a huge effort into Christmas dinner every year...no-one ever took the burden off her as usually the extended family would come to us. I took it all for granted, never considering the time and strain and stress that must have gone into it. Every year she made shortbread, Christmas cakes with almond icing, chocolate peanut biscuits and all sorts of delicacies. My Grandmother did make the Christmas puddings...traditional ones done up in cloth that would hang in the kitchen in the weeks leading up to Christmas Day.


The Songs

Although I've been known to nod my head and commiserate in a yes, I know isn't it awful? kind of way when cynical friends complain about the season...I don't really mean it. I also secretly like all of the old traditional carol songs and the cheesy reindeer/jingle bells/white christmas/you'd better be good music that is endlessly played everywhere you go.

I'm quite fond of the Tim Minchin song in the video below. I agree with many of the sentiments but at the same time it makes me melancholy because I become aware of the people I loved who will be missing on Christmas day. Still, it encapsulates what Christmas means to me...security, family relationships and the people who love you unconditionally.


Just Really Like It...

No Ho Ho...


I hate to put a dampener on things but it's true that Christmas can be a depressing time for many...December has the highest suicide rate. When I first heard about that I was deeply shocked. But then I thought about it....

For those who are alone and lonely the so-called festive season can highlight their situation. Just as for those who have absolutely no money it can highlight miserable destitution.Some are not poor or lonely, but are suffering from general depression and keep themselves apart so as not to bring anyone down. Worst scenario of all...lonely, depressed and destitute. Then all the fripperies, excesses and family togetherness of the time of year must feel like a cruel intrusion and all that *joyousness* a mockery. It's more alienating than ever to be depressed at Christmas.

It's no consolation at all but if you are feeling that way, I and many others think about you every year .Remember...come Boxing day it'll all be over and the hope of a New Year will stretch ahead. As my grandmother was fond of saying..'you just never know what's around the corner'.

Christmas Trivia


Because I don't really want to leave this hub on a down note I had to find something light and Christmassy to put in here. So here's some froth:

  • Christmas pudding was first made as a thick soup with raisins and wine in it
  • Electric tree lights were first used 3 years after Edosn staged his first mass demonstration of lights to the piublic in 1879
  • Christmas crackers were invented buy a guy called Thomas Smith
  • White Christmas is the biggest selling Christmas song of all time
  • The 25th was not celebrated as the birth of Christ until the year Ad 440
  • The Queen gave her fist televised Christmas speech in 1957

From http://www.woodlands-junior.kent.sch.uk/customs/Xmas/facts.html


Okay, that's enough.


Oh and...

More by this Author

  • How to Talk Like a Film Critic: Glossary of  Film Terms
    21

    So you want to be a film critic? Well here's something to get you started; a general guide to some of the language of film criticism...

  • Giant Easter Eggs
    23

    A chocolate lover's fantasy - the egg measured 8.32 metres high, used up 1950 kg of chocolates, took twenty-six craftsman 525 hours to create and made it into the Guiness Book of Records for the World's Largest...

  • A Day in the Life of a 1950s Housewife
    115

    Post-feminist revolution, 1950's housewives carry a certain amount of hip kudos. Now that we have equality (or a facsimile thereof) we don't have to be on the defensive anymore. We can wear a stiff, full skirt, vintage...


Comments 43 comments

Austinstar profile image

Austinstar 5 years ago from Somewhere in the universe

Once upon a time there was a jolly Santa in my life. Today, if some fat guy in a red suit and white beard wanted me to sit on his lap, I'd think PERVERT! Hohoho...


Jane Bovary profile image

Jane Bovary 5 years ago from The Fatal Shore Author

Haha...maybe my infant instincts were right. Who'd be a shopping centre Santa though? Tough job I'd say.


drbj profile image

drbj 5 years ago from south Florida

Shopping center Santas should get hazardous pay. Have you ever watched those little darlings as they wait impatiently in line?

Loved your Christmas memories though, Jane, may you have many, many more jolly ones.


Chasuk 5 years ago

I didn't like Christmas even as a kid. I've never liked Christmas music (a few classics excepted), I hate schmaltz in all of its varieties, and, even if I loved it, it lasts too long.

I think you might have just inspired me to write a hub. ;-)


Jane Bovary profile image

Jane Bovary 5 years ago from The Fatal Shore Author

Hi drbj...haha,I have seen them! Yes it's a rough gig, but someone's gotta do it. I wonder what the little tykes ask for these days?

"Please Santa I want a 52 inch Sony HDTV with built in blu-ray player." Monsters!

Merry xmas and thanks


Jane Bovary profile image

Jane Bovary 5 years ago from The Fatal Shore Author

Chasuk, I would have been shocked and amazed if you'd liked Christmas...haha.

Thanks for wading through my intolerable schmultz! And I'm going to wish you a Merry Christmas whether you like it or not!


Chasuk 5 years ago

You would have been shocked and amazed if I liked Christmas? Why? Most people are shocked that I don't.

Do I come across as a Grinch in my hubs?


Jane Bovary profile image

Jane Bovary 5 years ago from The Fatal Shore Author

Stop it...you're making me laugh too much!

No, not a grinch...just way too smart to fall for all the hyped up tripe known as Christmas. I am surpised you didn't like it as a kid though. I thought it was a prerequisite of childhood? Lol...I bet you were a serious young insect.


Mike Marks profile image

Mike Marks 5 years ago

seems you have good reason to like Christmas, you had a great family that made their own great magic memories. I figure at least one thing is real about Christmas, that a large amount of folks are willing to submit to a mind set of love and peace and joy, and if I'm going to submit to a mind controling hypno trance, that's the one that may be best to join in on. And the reminders of real magic held in children's eyes. I went to a decorated forrest last night, tall oaks, and such, thickly adorned with various lights up their trunks to the ends of their naked branches, some trees a single blue purple or orange, others mixed. I'm not christian but this pass sunday I enjoyed the singing of carols and such at a local UU church, where they kept it to the words of love supposedly held in Jesus mouth, and not the high-concept bloody dying for our sins gore promoted by Paul. Tommorow Tuesday, the shortest day of the year, I'll attend a Winter Salsas celebration outdoors with friends around a fire.


Jane Bovary profile image

Jane Bovary 5 years ago from The Fatal Shore Author

Hi Mark, thankyou for those lovely comments.

I can picture the lights in the oak trees and how fantastic that would look. Beautiful. And I agree with you about the 'magic held in children's eyes'. There is something special about that. Completely agree about the love/not sins thing too.

Hope you have a wonderful solstice/xmas


Mike Marks profile image

Mike Marks 5 years ago

thanx for showing me how to spell solstice


Jane Bovary profile image

Jane Bovary 5 years ago from The Fatal Shore Author

Lol..no worries. I thought for a minute there you might have been having a sauce celebration.


Chasuk 5 years ago

@Jane: I was a serious young insect. I still am. Always. I do laugh, but even my humor is serious. That isn't as bad as it sounds. I am funny, and I appreciate humor, and love, and tenderness, but I'm always extremely literal. I don't know why; just wired that way.

I did write an "I Hate Christmas" hub, just for you. I think it's sort of tacky to post links in comments, so I won't do it, but my Christmas hating hub is up to find. :-)


Jane Bovary profile image

Jane Bovary 5 years ago from The Fatal Shore Author

Chasuk, I know you've got a great sense a humour. That it comes through a straight face only makes it more amusing..heh. I'm also sure you possess the full range of human feelings!

I've noticed that sometimes people who are either very bright or very dull-witted can be very literal.Obviously you're in the first category! Now I'm off to see why you hate christmas...;)


secularist10 profile image

secularist10 5 years ago from New York City

Very nice hub, Jane. Fun memories.

It's so funny to hear about Christmas being associated with summer and 100 degree heat. For people like me, born and raised in the Northeast US, it's impossible to think about Christmas without thinking about cold, winter and snow. That's what has always given the "warmth" of Christmas special appeal--kind of like a hot spring in the middle of an Icelandic tundra.

The quintessential image for me is the seasonal lights of a shopping district in New York City, with the ground covered in snow, and families window shopping (since actually buying anything is too expensive a proposition in New York).

Either that or a quaint New England home amidst the trees and (again) snow with lights and decorations.

As far as Santa is concerned, I don't recall my parents ever talking about Santa as anything other than a character of some sort. I visited a Santa in the mall as a kid, but I don't think I was ever actually made to believe he was really the one delivering all the presents.


Jane Bovary profile image

Jane Bovary 5 years ago from The Fatal Shore Author

Secs, what makes Xmas in the heat more bizarre is that we still maintain all those European icons in our decorations...snow, sleds, firesides..there's a surreal quality to it.

Sounds like you enjoy a classic 'Miracle on 34th' setting. How lovely.

Thanks for reading and of course I have to wish my favourite labrador a Merry Christmas!


secularist10 profile image

secularist10 5 years ago from New York City

Yeah, I was wondering about that. I would think you guys would have developed some new motifs by now--what has it been, like over 100 years?

Maybe Santa can ride in on a jet ski instead of a sleigh? Pulled by sharks instead of reindeer? Oh, even better--he can come from the South Pole instead of the North Pole! Yes, I will be expecting my consulting fee soon from whichever Australian advertising agency picks up on this.

Merry Christmas and a Happy Year of our Lord 2011.


Mike Marks 5 years ago

seems there is an affectiuon for hot weather Santa... I painted a pic of him with a red atmosphere, to play off his red suit, while he stood in profile staring at a huge blazing yellow red sun... I hung it in a gallery where five others of my paintings have been hanging unsold for weeks, and it sold within the hour, and with another observer askinf I could duplicate for her...


Jane Bovary profile image

Jane Bovary 5 years ago from The Fatal Shore Author

That's great Mark. From your description, it would make a good Christmas card for Australians.

Secularist, I can't believe you would exploit Christmas like that. I'm thinking Santa could just roll in on a surfboard.


ralwus 5 years ago

Though we may be on different sides of the pond, we share many things alike, 'cept for Christmas Crackers. LOL It has changed so much for us since no children are here, they're all growed up now. Merry Christmas dear Jane. Charlie


Jane Bovary profile image

Jane Bovary 5 years ago from The Fatal Shore Author

We call those crackers bon-bons here! How French. I'm sharing one with you in spirit Rawlus.

Merry Christmas to you and thanks for giving me so much pleasure all year through your writing.


esatchel profile image

esatchel 5 years ago from Kentucky

I love your story about your sister burying the broken toy! How wonderful!

I have wonderful memories of Christmas morning snow and new ice skates under the tree. And I have had the privilege of creating happy memories for my own children.

We are in in-between years now, with no small children in the home, just teenagers. Pleasant teenagers, but no carrots for the reindeer and visions of sugarplums this year!

Happy Christmas to you!


Micky Dee profile image

Micky Dee 5 years ago

Is it Christmas already? Ho ho ho


secularist10 profile image

secularist10 5 years ago from New York City

BTW apropos of nothing, I just discovered that today is Festivus (December 23).

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Festivus

Who needs Christmas when we have Festivus? A festivus for the rest of us.

Happy Festivus, everyone!


Jane Bovary profile image

Jane Bovary 5 years ago from The Fatal Shore Author

esatchel...ice skates under the tree? How Christmassy can you get? Lol...sounds lovely. "Pleasant teeenager" has to be an oxymoron! Thanks very much for reading and Merry Christmas to you too!


Jane Bovary profile image

Jane Bovary 5 years ago from The Fatal Shore Author

Micky, thanks for spreading good cheer around...all year!


Jane Bovary profile image

Jane Bovary 5 years ago from The Fatal Shore Author

Secs...hahahaha..hoho. I must have missed that episode! I love the 'festivus tree' - a plain aluminum pole. I can imagine what you'll be decorating that with....:)

Happy Festivus friend.


carolina muscle profile image

carolina muscle 5 years ago from Charlotte, North Carolina

I enjoyed this hub... and I love Christmas !!!


Rod Marsden profile image

Rod Marsden 5 years ago from Wollongong, NSW, Australia

Nicely done, Jane. We all have something that makes Christmas special. I have family who make sure I am not depressed at Christmas which is good. Doing Christmas in the land of Oz is wonderful period.


Jane Bovary profile image

Jane Bovary 5 years ago from The Fatal Shore Author

Thanks Carolina!

Rod, I hope you had a good Christmas. Mine was fun and it was good to see everyone, but I do wish these family gatherings wouldn't descend into an imitation of a Eugene O'Neil play, as they are apt to do. Five minutes after I arrived my alcoholic brother fell on top of the Christmas presents and from then on it was it was comic/tragic farce all the way.


Rod Marsden profile image

Rod Marsden 5 years ago from Wollongong, NSW, Australia

I have one brother-in-law who doesn't drink at all and the other only drinks moderately. My dad's too old for that sort of thing and I am only a moderate drinker. Sometimes I feel sad that I haven't had the overseas adventures some of the others have had but that's about it.


Jane Bovary profile image

Jane Bovary 5 years ago from The Fatal Shore Author

You Marsdens sound very sensible. Guess we've all got regrets about something...I know I have.


Rod Marsden profile image

Rod Marsden 5 years ago from Wollongong, NSW, Australia

Us Marsdens were not always so sensible about Christmas. We're just veterans of enough Christmas campaigns. I haven't given up on increasing my own personal stock of overseas adventures.


Chasuk 5 years ago

I've wept several times now to the Minchin song. The lyrics are meaningful to me. Thank you, sincerely.


Jane Bovary profile image

Jane Bovary 5 years ago from The Fatal Shore Author

Chasuk, they resonate with me too and make me feel emotional. I'm really glad you liked it.

Rod,when they make the flm version of Disco Evil you'll have plenty of funds for travel...;)


Rod Marsden profile image

Rod Marsden 5 years ago from Wollongong, NSW, Australia

Either Disco Evil or Ghost Dance, Jane. Yes my family does love to travel. And thanks for your good wishes.


jeremysharon profile image

jeremysharon 5 years ago

Christmas celebrations for many different countries and it is a really very enjoyable festival. Great hub


Jane Bovary profile image

Jane Bovary 5 years ago from The Fatal Shore Author

Thanks jeremy... and a belated Seasons Greeting to you.


James A Watkins profile image

James A Watkins 5 years ago from Chicago

I am glad you enjoy Christ's Mass. Happy New Year!!


lyndoman profile image

lyndoman 5 years ago from London

What I like about Christmas is the expectation and the taste of pleasure when the children open their yearned for gifts.


alberich 5 years ago

Lovely to hear about Christmas, and Your sacred feeling for it

I was thinking of writing about my Christmas as is called Yule, but I believe that people are either too interested of pagan rituals or despise everything that is not Christian. Anyway, I guess some people in England still put out food to the pixies at Christmas Eve and they also sense the magic that lingers during this time of year.

The food is important since food triggers senses, carry impressions and bind us together with all things. In old traditions the eating and feasting is called Blót.

Father Christmas certainly exists and are in good health. He is not, though, what most people believe him to be.

All the same, what you do doesn’t matter, what matter is that you do your best to cherish the togetherness with God and all of us.

Bless You Jane and a late Merry Christmas!


Jane Bovary profile image

Jane Bovary 5 years ago from The Fatal Shore Author

Thanks James!

Lyndoman, that's one of the bonuses of Christmas, for sure. Thanks for reading.


Jane Bovary profile image

Jane Bovary 5 years ago from The Fatal Shore Author

Hi alberich, you're so right about the food..it's an important aspect of the whole thing. A VERY late Merry Xmas to you too! I've been away at the beach sans computers(almost). Happy New Year too.

    Sign in or sign up and post using a HubPages Network account.

    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    No HTML is allowed in comments, but URLs will be hyperlinked. Comments are not for promoting your articles or other sites.


    Click to Rate This Article
    working