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Dismantling Christmas

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Well Dickens and the Victorians* invented it (as we know it) so I guess we can just as soon dismantle it. With a little help from our politicians who want to keep us in a small safety bubble. But I wasn’t actually talking about that. I took the decorations down yesterday, the 3 Wise men arrived bringing their gifts, although they always seem to leave me out .I’ve been waiting for wisdom for such a long time now! What I got in exchange though was an almost insatiable curiosity about the world around me which, from reaching afar has been made tiny in these covid times. But wait! In spite of the restrictions I still have all I need, and more . A lot of love without hugs yes, but that’s ok. A lot more travel-less time to do my job well and go down all the new avenues I now have the leisure to discover, some opening up into splendid future vistas, others leading to dead ends. I’m learning hope from my garden, as ever. Don’t need any Wise men to tell me that do I?

*Although they already had Christmas cards and Christmas trees it was only when Dickens wrote “A Christmas Carol” that Christmas went crazy! If you have Amazon Prime there’s a feel-good film about it. Christians had been celebrating Christ’s birth of course, and Germanic tribes had been using evergreen decorations to keep away witches, ghosts and evil spirits long before that. But it was with Ebeneezer Scrooge & co. that family gatherings and sentimental Christmasses really took off. With Dylan Thomas’s wonderful “A Child’s Christmas in Wales” a layer of bitter-sweet nostalgia was added. However much as we mock ourselves for getting into these consumeristic, spendthrift, overblown Christmasses, maybe we should think again. Through no fault of anyone’s I ate a pretty miserable Christmas dinner alone but then I had a wonderful heart-warming surprise when the whole masked family turned up for panettone and Italian spumante (or English tea) quaffed under the sun blind to shelter from the rain the outliers who couldn’t be socially distanced in the patio! It only lasted long enough enough to eat the last sultanas but Dickens was right, it is about family after all. So don’t be Christmas snobs, and join in the Merriment!

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