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Christmas ain't wot it used to be....

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plastic penguin's picture
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Had think over the past two weeks and realised why Christmas doesn't have the excitment of years gone by. No, not talking about being reflective or the fact I'm 50. Really do believe that commerce (amongst others) have lost the meaning of the period. You can now buy mince pies in September, the following month other festive goodies are readily available from supermarkets.

I have just put up our decorations. Think that high street decs going up in November, allied to the above examples, is killing the spirit or essence of Christmas. Totally understand the commercial aspect but....

What do you think?

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Binman's picture
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RE: Christmas ain't wot it used to be....

I have to agree. I'm not religious and was not raised in a Christian household.  Even I noticed that there is less and less about the meaning of Christmas on TV, high streets etc... And more and more about Santa's grottos and offers in shops. 

 

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RE: Christmas ain't wot it used to be....

[DUPLICATE]

 

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RE: Christmas ain't wot it used to be....

I think it's what you make of it. I love Christmas and the wife and I went to a local carol singing event last night, then had a few people back for mulled wine. Lovely.

Yes, commercial things start in November (have to say, never seen anything in September). But does it matter? Personally I just ignore it and, as you have done, put our own decorations up a couple of weeks before to get the build up in your own time frame.

After all, Christmas is really just one day (or two days if you count Boxing Day) - yes, you can do stuff prior to the event to get you in the mood, but it's doing what makes you happy on those two days that counts - whether that be joining up with your family, or sitting with mates in the pub - it's a nice excuse to relax in a happy environment and do things you're not supposed to  Smile

 

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RE: Christmas ain't wot it used to be....

I see no intrinsic value in a festival celebrating empty consumerism first and absurd mythology second.

However, since we'll be forced to work longer and harder for less and less, and are powerless to effect change, make the most of whatever holiday our benevolent leaders grant and spend as much time as possible with family and friends.

That's the alternative (grumpy) version of the Prof's Christmas message. 

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RE: Christmas ain't wot it used to be....

It was never a Christian celebration originally. The shortest day of the year was always an excuse to break into preserved (smoked / cured / dried) food reserves and have a big celebration to mark the days getting longer again. (And a last chance to feast before the harshest phase of winter when it was entirely possible communities would experience famine.)

Christianity and commercialism both (at different times in history) attached themselves to the extant festivals and feast days in their own way.

It is highly unlikely - despite almost certainly being a real historical figure - that Christ was born on Christmas day or anywhen near it. (Even the year is vague.)

Our modern Christmas is mostly a mish-mash of imported customs from other countries and cultures. Christmas trees allegedly date back to St. Boniface's Christian conversion activities in Germany in the 8th century (maybe) but were certainly German in origin as a custom.  Christmas tree baubles and tinsel arose from Germany too.  (Glass blowers in Thuringia in Germany first 'invented' them and F.W. Woolworth imported them after a trip to Germany in the 1880s.

Decorating the tree is thought by some to originate from Martin Luther who added silver stars and candles to the tree indoors (they were usually unadorned) to replicate the stars in the night sky for a sick daughter who was unable to go for the Christmas Eve walk with the family due to her illness.

Queen Victoria (German mother and German descended father) and Albert (German) were widely aped in all their habits (especially Christmas ones) by the burgeoning middle-classes.

St Nicolas / Santa Claus comes from virtually everywhere (from Anatolia in Turkey to the North Pole) depending on who you ask.

Turkeys were indigenous to North America when the first one was brought to England in the 16th century.

Hollywood and television have played their own (not insignificant) parts in morphing our Christmases too. Chuck in some residual Finnish, Norwegian, Dutch, Norman and Saxon influences and the tradtions of the Dickensian, 'traditional' English Christmas look highly dubious indeed. (Despite it's depiction on a large percentage of Christmas cards.)   

So PP, if you think "Christmas ain't wot it used to be....",  then  i'd have to ask "which version?"

I am guessing in your case, given our similar ages, the BBC/Lesley Crowther/Blue Peter/TOTP/Queen's message/Carols from Kings kind of 1960s / 1970s Christmases as experienced by children at the time with TV playing a signicant - but not yet dominant - role and before videos, computer games, the internet and 'hyper-consumerism' had all taken a bite out of it's traditions. When kids would not laugh in your face if they were given a comic annual as a stocking filler rather than the latest smart-phone!

You are also a bit of a WW2 'nut' / historian / writer, so I imagine - even though you didn't live at that time - you get influences from wartime and 'austerity era' Christmases and that makes you a little grumpy about the obscene levels of manic consumerism.

My peeve this year is the wall-to-wall Christmas themed cooking/telly chef programmes*. It's not even as if any of it looks appetising! (Some makes me downright queasy.)  At  least the myth of Nigella Lawson has finally been exploded. (Coke snorting wreck with a shambles of a marriage employing a raft of exploitative b###es who shopped their way through whatever was left of her fortune.)  I am sure Delia never behaved like this Smile

*Does Tom Kerridge really think we all have leftover truffles to grate onto our scrambled eggs on toast??!!!  What f#####g planet does he live on?

 

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RE: Christmas ain't wot it used to be....

I don't particularly enjoy Christmas, but it's the only time I get to catch up with a couple of mates who live in other parts of the country, and I always enjoy that one night hugely.

Personally, I thought the shops and the general public left everything until a little later this year. I didn't notice any of those over-the-top Christmas lights in and outside of people's homes until December, and I didn't notice stores selling Christmas goodies until November. 

It does seem like a huge hassle for what is just a couple of days, but I worked in retail for quite a while, and it's absolutely vital for most, if not all shops. So for the sake of those people's jobs, it's a necessary evil, even if I do think all shops should be shut for both Christmas and Boxing Day.

 

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RE: Christmas ain't wot it used to be....

chebby wrote:

You are also a bit of a WW2 'nut' / historian / writer, so I imagine - even though you didn't live at that time - you get influences from wartime and 'austerity era' Christmases and that makes you a little grumpy about the obscene levels of manic consumerism.

Well, I'm a film historian specifically.

I have some knowledge of propaganda films of the period, from Leni Riefenstahl to Frank Capra, taking in films with interventionist narratives (Casablanca most famously) and British calls for vigilance such as the Graham Greene adaptation Went the Day Well.

As for WWII history more generally, I have little-to-no expertise.

My position is informed more directly by close attention to recent political events and three-and-a-half decades of neoliberalism. 

You're of course right that Christmas is an agglomeration of cultures and traditions, though it's been co-opted as a capitalist and Christian festival.

As to whether I'm "a bit of a writer," I'm in no position to judge objectively... Smile

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RE: Christmas ain't wot it used to be....

strapped for cash wrote:

chebby wrote:

You are also a bit of a WW2 'nut' / historian / writer, so I imagine - even though you didn't live at that time - you get influences from wartime and 'austerity era' Christmases and that makes you a little grumpy about the obscene levels of manic consumerism.

Well, I'm a film historian specifically.

I have some knowledge of propaganda films of the period, from Leni Riefenstahl to Frank Capra, taking in films with interventionist narratives (Casablanca most famously) and British calls for vigilance such as the Graham Greene adaptation Went the Day Well.

As for WWII history more generally, I have little-to-no expertise.

My position is informed more directly by close attention to recent political events and three-and-a-half decades of neoliberalism. 

You're of course right that Christmas is an agglomeration of cultures and traditions, though it's been co-opted as a capitalist and Christian festival.

As to whether I'm "a bit of a writer," I'm in no position to judge objectively... Smile

I addressed that part to PP  from where I said...

"So PP, if you think "Christmas ain't wot it used to be....",  then  i'd have to ask "which version?""

....and not your good self Strapped. Sorry to confuse.

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RE: Christmas ain't wot it used to be....

No apology required. Smile

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plastic penguin's picture
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RE: Christmas ain't wot it used to be....

I'm not a religious person, nor am I influenced by wartime austerity.

It's just an obsevation: High street decorations (thoughs that hang from lamposts or drape across the width of the road) are up in the 3rd week of November, my local Tesco had mince pies and Xmas crackers in September and October. For me, though, Christmas should be magic, and seeing all this stuff so early takes some of that magic away....

 Perhaps I get bored with seeing decorations and other festive stuff so early....

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RE: Christmas ain't wot it used to be....

I believe mince pies are available all year.

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RE: Christmas ain't wot it used to be....

chebby wrote:

I believe mince pies are available all year.

Quite possibly. That really is what I'm alluding to... not very festive if they're available in Feb or March.

That's also the reason why I don't like Xmas songs/cd/records... they're only relevant for one time of the year. Heraing 'Jingle Bells' or 'It'll be lonely this Christmas' in June, July, August (with hosepipe bans) is plain stupid.

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RE: Christmas ain't wot it used to be....

Never heard those songs played in the summer. Why shouldn't I be allowed a mince pie in April if I want one?

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RE: Christmas ain't wot it used to be....

i agree its a bit of a joke now, especially when tesco have all the decorations, selection boxes in stores in september.

but what winds me up from the first week in december almost all the shops have nothing left, its like they have runs the stocks down expecting peope to buy things early.

which means the impact of xmas is less and less, deceber is when you buy your xmas presents, tree up etc it adds to the excitement

who except crazy people does all there xmas shopping in september

 

and whats with only bringing out the tins of chocolates for xmas what about the rest of the year they are good present fillers

 

and guess what i saw last week - cadburys creme egss and mini eggs

 

so i bought about 4 of each!!!!!!

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RE: Christmas ain't wot it used to be....

I wish we could go back to the real Yule, before christianity hijacked it.

Family, trees, decorations,food and alcohol...the real meaning of the winter holiday.

And yes, November decorations should be banned.

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