Our Christmases were quite low key, and definitely for the children. We didn’t get a fraction of what today’s children get but we were more than happy with it. We had a nice dinner although nothing like the big razzmatazz of today.

The house would be decorated with paper chains and honeycomb bells and balls and there would be tinsel and glass baubles for the tree. The tinsel I remember was quite scraggy in comparison to the thick fluffiness of now. The tree was real, and you couldn’t beat the lovely smell of pine which added to the Christmassy excitement.

We always hung up our stocking, or at least one of dad’s socks, it was bigger. In the morning it was filled with a tangerine, an apple, some sweets  and perhaps coloured pencils or similar. We usually got a bigger gift of a toy, some smaller toys and lots of books and annuals. I seldom got up before at least one annual had been read from cover to cover.


Christmas was a family day, we visited relatives, exchanged gifts and we could play with our cousin’s new toys and games. It was a lovely day.

It’s sad that commercialism has taken over, the Christmas bells are being replaced now by the sound of till bells ringing in the shops. It’s not what Christmas is meant to be. First we have the nativity, celebrating the birth of Jesus. Then we have Santa Claus – you may wonder where he fits into the scheme of things.

Saint Nicholas came from the Mediterranean area, he is the patron saint of sailors, merchants, archers, children, brewers, pawnbrokers, students and repentant thieves. You would think that would be enough to keep him busy, but he was a kindly bishop and was reputed to give gifts secretly, and often slipped a coin into a child’s shoe. Known in some places as Father Christmas but he had many other names depending on the country. If you want to know more about the real Santa Claus, a visit to his website is quite enlightening. St. Nicholas Center

Perhaps we should think about Christmas and it’s true meaning and not so much spending money on gifts that often are excess to requirnativity-scene-7ements, or over-indulging children whose lives are already overburdened with parents and grandparents competing to see who can give the most. The usual excuse there is because they want to see their faces when they give them too much. That’s not giving the child a gift, that’s self-indulgence.

Think how many homeless people could be fed if all the money for excess gifts giving was given towards some real need. Remember St. Nicholas is reputed to have only slipped a coin in a shoe, he didn’t have a credit card to run-up debt.

Perhaps it would be nice to turn the clocks back and make Christmas a family day and remember the ‘reason for the season’. It’s not Happy Holidays, it’s Happy Christmas.


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