The frantic, frenetic, frivolities of the festive season are upon us once again. Boy this year’s flown past hasn’t it? I usually find myself reflecting on the reasons I find it such a puzzling time. I enjoy it certainly. with reservations …
There’s lots I love about it, including an abundance of treasured memories of past times spent with family and friends. Conversely there’s much I find abhorrent about it. The seemingly wanton waste of money spent by too many people, buying things people don’t want, with money they can barely afford, and then surprisingly spend January miserable and in debt.
A number of publications reassure me I’m not alone.
Pagan Origins Way Before Any ‘Manger Birth’
One I recently found about the (real) history of Christmas, and its Pagan origins. When I see notices posted around cajoling passing people to ‘Remember the reason for the season‘ it makes me inwardly cringe. After reading this article I understand why.
“The winter solstice held the promise of the return of springtime and earthly renewal. In Roman history, this was the time of Saturnalia, honoring the God of Agriculture, for the week before the solstice, and Juvenalia, a feast in honor of the children of Rome, around the same time. On the 25th of the month they celebrated the birth of the sun-god Mithra.”The History of Christmas and It’s Pagan Origins
Saturnalia. I like that. And I can relate to looking forward to the promise of a return to springtime.
Manic Marketing And Considering The Environment
The other publication is by Life Squared (a brilliantly inspirational organisation I’ve followed for many years) called ‘How to Have A Better Christmas‘
“In modern life, we’re surrounded by more commercial messages than ever before but at Christmas this goes to another level. Christmas advertising campaigns start several months before Christmas itself and are often targeted directly at children. This creates a pressure on parents and everyone else at Christmas to spend as much money as possible on as many items as possible, with the implication that if we don’t spend enough money or buy a sufficient number of things for other people, we are letting them down, being mean or failing to show the generosity expected at Christmas.”How To Have A Better Christmas
It’s a fascinating read, giving heaps of helpful suggestions to stop getting caught up in the frenzy. Interestingly it also charges us with considering the ways in which the western world harm the environment each year due to Christmas. It’s not rocket science to work out in what ways, but I’m imagining few people consider this challenge. Something to think about I suggest?
Humanists Celebrate Life
I’ve been a member of ‘Humanists UK‘ for many years, as their values and philosophy align with mine. Barry and I chose a Humanist wedding on the roof of our previous narrowboat Northern Pride in September 2009.
This post shares ways some famous Humanists celebrate the festive season, and what it means to them:
“Sometimes the charge is levelled at humanists that to celebrate Christmas is hypocritical, but this time of year has nothing to do with religion and everything to do with celebrating the life we have with the people we love.”Having a ‘godless’ Christmas: Famous humanists share how they celebrate Christmas
The Gift Of Death
That’s a tad startling aye? But continues on from the Life Squared publication. By George Monbiot, a journalist I really admire. This post is an old one, from 2012, but it doesn’t matter. It still rings true today. The opening paragraph is a stark reminder of the wastefulness of many during this period every year:
“There’s nothing they need, nothing they don’t own already, nothing they even want. So you buy them a solar-powered waving queen; a belly button brush; a silver-plated ice cream tub holder; a “hilarious” inflatable zimmer frame; a confection of plastic and electronics called Terry the Swearing Turtle; or – and somehow I find this significant – a Scratch Off World wall map.”The Gift of Death George Monbiot
In whatever way you choose to spend this time, we wish you peace, joy and love. A touch of ‘merrymaking’ too of course 😉
We’ll be enjoying spending time with family and friends in the next couple of weeks, as we always do. Also reflecting on the enormous changes in our lives over the past decade. From returning to New Zealand in November 2010, conceiving plans to come back to England a couple of years later for the foreseeable future, then obtaining Barry’s Indefinite Leave to Remain Visa in June this year, to receiving the news the day before our tenth wedding anniversary that Barry has been granted citizenship. And all the ups and downs we’ve experienced both on and off the canals.
Who knows what the next ten years will bring. We’re ready to embrace each day.
“Don’t ever save anything for a special occasion. Being alive is the special occasion.”
― Mary Engelbreit
I’ve chosen the final words to reflect from George. Wouldn’t it be amazing if more of us resisted the pressure to buy ‘stuff’ that people don’t need with money you don’t have:
“Bake them a cake, write them a poem, give them a kiss, tell them a joke, but for god’s sake stop trashing the planet to tell someone you care. All it shows is that you don’t.”
8 thoughts on “Happy Festive Season 2019”
Oh how much I agree with your philosophy Sandra. It is such good common sense that many people just cannot see the wood for the trees any more at Christmas and the marketing leading up to it.
I’ve felt like this for a long long time. It’s just getting worse. It’s reassuring to know there’s many others who feel the same. Not sure what it will take to change it to something far simpler to return to the origins of the festive period and remove the pressure, pretence and poverty people put themselves in just because they think they ‘should’ 🤔😥
Sandra, That’s the best writing about Christmas I’ve read this year. Thank you.
Pleasure Jim (or is it Jim Jim?) Happy Saturnalia/Christmas/Yuletide or whatever you celebrate. The sun is shining here ☀️ it’s on it’s way back .,.
Great post. 😀 Marry Christmas to you both. 😀
And to you two too 🎄🥳🥂
Merry happy Christmas from NZ! What a beautiful post—agree with your sentiments and look forward to reading more from some of the writers you referenced ❤️
Happy Saturnalia beautiful wahine! I shall see you for a Wainui walk next year x