Pottering around my local shops at the weekend already the shops are being stocked with Christmas stuff - just why is that?? Why can't we put Christmas back where it belongs? It's the grumpy ole woman speaking out again and well up on my soap box! Christmas should be a joyous family time for just a day or two not 3,4 or even 5 months ahead of schedule. I think when Christmas gets protracted out longer and longer it loses it's significance. Parents are under pressure to buy so much stuff out of their pocket ranges, children get fed up with waiting for Santa to come, families get tired by the time the great day arrives and the real meaning of Christmas - gets overlooked amongst the Commercial hype. So much food seems to come out of the woodwork too - the majority of which gets wasted or not eaten over the Christmas period - because our eyes were way too big for our tummies!! How many Christmas pudding types for example Lordy why we're only going to eat one at a time!! Mother and Grandmothers in my childhood made their Christmas puds at least a year ahead. We all got to have a stir of the pud and made a wish which we kept to ourselves - whilst mum was pouring in the Brandy if she had any (but it was usually Sherry because we couldn't afford Brandy)! The pud was left to improve in the pantry (after being wrapped in clean white muslin tied in a knot at the top) over the months and boy did it taste good after being steamed on the cooker for at least 2 hours (in an old white pudding basin that had a dull aged crack down it which never broke over the years mother used it!!) - luvly!
I remember as a child, Christmas was never prepared for until after Guy Fawkes in November. The excitement was short but intense and the range of gifts although limited were something unique to Christmas, only in the shops for a short while and never seen again until the next Christmas when new stock came in. Turkeys were only seen in the Butchers at the last minute and had to be ordered well in advance to be sure we got one and only available at Christmas. Paxo stuffing was a rare sight at home because all the females in our family usually made their own and so much tastier!! We decorated with a few paper chains which we made ourselves - that was a treat and the decs only went up about a week before - if we were lucky!! The Christmas tree was always fresh which Dad brought home only about a week before. When the first time Christmas lights appeared - boy was that some treat because normally we decorated the trees with little metal candle holders that held ribbed candles only being lit briefly on Christmas Eve! Wouldn't health and safety have a field day today!! The lights actually often didn't have a 3 pin plug on them either; they had a round light fitting with horrible brown intertwined wires as the cord & it was plugged into the side lamp or if we didn't have one of those it was often plugged into the main lamp (after removing the light bulb from the main light of course!!)We used to wrap paper chains around the cord to make it look pretty and less dull - health & safety major heart attack!!
We went to Church on Christmas Eve as a family for the candlelit carol service and it brought meaning to what Christmas was all about. It always seemed to be a white Christmas then - or maybe that's my imagination. Christmas cards always depicted various scenes of the Nativity,Christmas robins or santas and snowy landscapes,without any sense of political correctness creeping in - well it wasn't invented then happy days - thankfully!! Please let's put Christmas back where it belongs, cut down on the commercial hype and lets just have a nice family traditional Christmas that's meaningful, special, no mortgage needed to pay for it and please Lord mercifully short. Sleep now that's all off my chest!! :)