Thursday, December 14, 2006
Is your iconic Christmas figure green or red clothed?
The excitment’s building, you can feel it in the air! What is it I’m talking about? Christmas, of course.
With just nine days to go, preparations in the Entwistle household here in the Scottish Borders are well underway.
The tree was collected on Sunday -a fine 7-foot Lodge Pole pine - and is now standing proudly in our sitting room adorned with the traditional twinkling lights, tinsel and assorted baubles and miniature chocolate figures.
There are other flashing lights draped around the windows of our entrance porch and even more on the inside of a big picture window.
I wouldn’t say they were too bright, but switching them on at the weekend, I was worried a passing Boeing 747 might mistake them for runway landing lights!
Coupled to all this, my wife Ally has made traditional evergreen wreaths for both our front door and our garden gate.
And this week, Ally has started gathering together all the ingredients she will need for the Christmas pudding which she will also start stewing at the end of the week.
The turkey’s been ordered from a local village butcher, the gift list is slowly being whittled down and cards are winging their way to family and friends.
Interestingly, over in some European countries such as Austria, a campaign has started to ban images of Santa Claus in his red suit.
Campaigners say this is one of the iconic symbols of the commercialisation of Christmas, originally being a figment of the creative imagination of those working in the advertising department of Cocoa-Cola.
In some of these European countries, Father Christmas or St. Nicholas or Kris Kringle, was an old man with a white beard, but who wore a dark green outfit and lived in the frozen forests and campaigners want a return to this image.
But you can’t un-invent ideas and the red-suited and black-booted figure of Santa Claus is all the majority of children have grown up with and it would be impossible to change their enthusiasm for him.
And why should they? Each person has his own special images of what Christmas means to them and, to be honest, whether that features a red-suited Santa or a green-clothed one, does it really matter?
In pre-Christian times, much of Europe celebrated a pagan mid-winter festival. That has now been subsumed by the celebrations to mark the birth of Christ.
But whatever you believe, the important thing to remember is that Christmas is a time for being together and finding joy, peace and harmony if even just for a short while.
Of putting aside differences and disagreements as the old year draws to a close and resolving to do better when the sun returns once more.
We all need to strive to try to carry that sense of happiness and consideration for others that we find at Christmas through the rest of the year.
Now that would be the greatest gift of all to give.
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