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Tony Grist

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Invoking The Christmas Spirit [Dec. 6th, 2009|11:01 am]
Tony Grist
I see-saw on the subject of Christmas. Last year I worked up so much enthusiasm for it I almost lapsed back into Christianity, this year I've been having a hard job getting into the mood. The weather doesn't help. Last year we had heavy snowfalls in early December; this year it's still mild and autumnal and we're having lots of rain.

The Christmas myth demands extreme weather- clear skies, many stars, "earth as hard as iron, water like a stone". If it isn't perishing outside all the glitter and artificial warmth we throw against the season seems like wasted ammunition.

I wonder what an Australian Christmas feels like. Really weird I should think.

Anyway, Ailz has been nudging me to put the tree up. The first time she did it I reacted with disbelief. "What, is it really that time of year again?" Then I looked at the calendar and saw that it was.

So, we made a bit of an effort. We invited Odi and Fabrizio to come round and help us put up the tree. There was loudness and bounciness and several bottles of wine were consumed.

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Comments:
[User Picture]From: veronica_milvus
2009-12-06 12:11 pm (UTC)
Well it sounds like you are making the most of it, with so much celebration putting the tree up.

We were in Australia last year and it was weird. Santa came in on a jet ski, kids opened presents, there was a seafood buffet lunch, and the tinsel was really quite lost in the blazing sunshine. Then everybody went back to the beach, or whatever they were doing. It was low key. No need for a festival of light.

The defining thing about our northern Christmas is that we are all cooped up together in the dark and the cold, and forced to be jolly because there is no escape!
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[User Picture]From: poliphilo
2009-12-06 01:36 pm (UTC)
That's exactly it. Christmas exists- and has always existed- because of the need for a touch of magic in the middle of the long northern winter.
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[User Picture]From: idahoswede
2009-12-06 12:30 pm (UTC)
I spent 2 Christmases in Hawaii and yes, it was truly weird.
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[User Picture]From: poliphilo
2009-12-06 01:37 pm (UTC)
I can imagine. The Southern hemisphere ought to reschedule Xmas for its own winter. It would make a lot more sense.
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[User Picture]From: calizen
2009-12-06 04:40 pm (UTC)
Well, rather used to palm trees and fake snow in L.A. But then L.A. usually has palm trees and fake everything, so why not.
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[User Picture]From: poliphilo
2009-12-06 05:48 pm (UTC)
We Brits complain continually about our weather, but actually we rather enjoy it. I don't think I could stand endless sunshine.
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[User Picture]From: calizen
2009-12-07 02:18 pm (UTC)
It does get rather -- depressing from time to time. If you're a thinking type of person, that is.
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[User Picture]From: jackiejj
2009-12-06 05:37 pm (UTC)
That's the second time this weekend I've heard the word "autumnal," which I love...we were singing too robustly at yesterday's rehearsal for lessons and carols and Jim said the piece should sound more autumnal, more like wind in trees...

Anyway, that is a beautiful child in the photo, and I'm glad your tree is up.
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[User Picture]From: poliphilo
2009-12-06 05:49 pm (UTC)
It's a lovely word- redolent of deacying leaves and wood-smoke.

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[User Picture]From: pondhopper
2009-12-06 07:09 pm (UTC)
The photo (for me) captures the essence of Christmas: warm togetherness and sharing.

A tree decorating party sounds like just the thing!
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[User Picture]From: poliphilo
2009-12-07 11:42 am (UTC)
Yes. :)
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[User Picture]From: carl9whalley
2009-12-06 07:38 pm (UTC)
Christmas should be banned i hate it, it's all about money and people trying to be nice. They say merry Christmas and a happy new year what they really mean is have a crap Christmas and drop dead in the new year. Bah humbug to it all.............
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[User Picture]From: poliphilo
2009-12-07 11:43 am (UTC)
I know what you mean.
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[User Picture]From: daisytells
2009-12-06 07:39 pm (UTC)
And a Happy Christmas to all of you! It snowed here - just a bit - last night. Like the song says: "It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas".
Now if we could only make the stores stop playing those horrible tacky seasonal songs that are nothing more than noise. There is so much really good Christmas music, even on non-religious notes, that they ought to be playing it.
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[User Picture]From: poliphilo
2009-12-07 11:44 am (UTC)
I hate the forced jollity of so many Christmas songs.
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[User Picture]From: ibid
2009-12-11 05:49 am (UTC)
I loathe non religious Xmas music without exception. Carols have a dignity and beauty, others are seriously annoying.

Santa is pulled along by white kangaroos. Everyone is in shorts and it feels very wrong!
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[User Picture]From: poliphilo
2009-12-11 09:02 am (UTC)
Christmas is a midwinter festival. That's what it's for- to dispel the midwinter gloom. It makes no sense to celebrate it at mid-summer.

I've been trying to think of a modern Christmas song I like- and not succeeding. I guess I can stand Lennon's War is Over ditty- but he stole the tune and really it's not so much as Christmas song as a cunningly disguised piece of agit-prop.
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[User Picture]From: ibid
2009-12-11 10:21 am (UTC)
It's part of a wider Australian malaise, as a nation I honestly believe most Aussies think they are a suburb of London. Maybe had the colonists had a time to develop away from the mother country it might have been different but the growth of Australia co-incided with the growth of communications technology.

And most of the north never gets any winter gloom, so by your logic they should have no Christmas at all!
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