Wednesday, 14 December 2011

Our christmas

We call it christmas, because thats what the whole of the rest of civilization calls it, but as we are non-religious, what we in fact celebrate is the passing of the midwinter solstice.
In pre-christian times, long before the christians hi-jacked the date, people all over the land used to brighten up their homes and surroundings for the shortest day, and celebrate with a huge feast in order to please the sun so that it would once again begin to rise up in the sky.
We were brought up with the reality that christmas was a time for families to get together and exchange small gifts, and that father christmas would bring presents for the children. With the passing of the years this whole thing has exploded into an orgy of stress and guilt-inducing spending, but not for us.
Several years ago, when our children were young and we had not a lot of money to spare, we had an agreement with the adult members of our family that we would no longer indulge in present swapping, which freed up an enormous amount of time wondering what to buy for whom, and money that we could ill-afford to spend, and presents were only purchased for the children. We have continued with this even now that our children are all grown up, and it is with a small amount of sadness that we watch the world mortgaging itself to do the "right" thing by buying presents for everyone they know with money they dont have.
Dont get me wrong, we still enjoy our post-midwinter solstice celebration, we send seasons greetings cards to our friends and family to help brighten up their homes, and our two younger sons who are currently single both come "home" to enjoy a special meal and a glass or two of an alcoholic beverage!
Our grandchildren all have more than enough presents, toys, games etc, so we choose, instead of adding to the pile of soon to be discarded things, to put away money for each of them so that on reaching the age of 18 they should have a sizeable sum to do with as they wish, which, in these uncertain financial times I feel will be far more useful to them.
Our family members are scattered around the country from Plymouth to Surrey, to Essex and beyond so it is quite difficult, especially now that our winter weather is so unpredictable, to gather all family members in one place to celebrate, so instead I arrange for a family get together in the spring which we all look forward to.
And so, to all my blog followers I wish you a very happy post-midwinter solstice celebration and all the very best for the coming new year. Thanks all for your kind comments, I have made many new, and I hope lasting, friendships in this little corner of cyberspace.


mad about bags said...

another enjoyable post joy, your celebrations sound wonderful, we too only buy for the children in our family long ago realising that buying for the sake of buying is not the same as giving!!! i do like the idea of saving for the grandchildren i might have to borrow that one when we get to that stage!!
don't forget that when you are in essex again we must meet up as it would be lovely to put a voice to the face, as surprisingly i saw laura on the tv last night and she had an irish acent which surprised me!!! seasons greetings to you all tracy x

karen said...

Although we celebrate the way we were brought up I do totally agree with your view that the whole thing has got totally out of hand and is nothing like it was/should be. I wish you and yours a wonderful post-midwinter solstice celebration, a Merry Christmas and all the best for the New Year. xx

The syders said...

I really enjoyed your post Joy. Love the idea of saving for the Grandchildren!

We celebrate Xmas pretty much how I was raised. Tbh Hubby really goes over the top and during our early married life I'd feel a bit annoyed by this obsession of his but I realise now that his reasons are more deep rooted and at Christmas he is re-living the childhood that he never had. We have had many discussions about it over the years and now I accept that 'a film set' christmas is what makes him happy. He doesn't drink, smoke or gamble and never spends a penny on himself all year and we dont get into debt for Crimbo (He starts in July, lol). Christmas is his guilty pleasure in life.

Seasons Greetings to you and your lovely family Joy and I am so happy to have become friends with you this year xxx

Chrissy said...

What a nice honest opinion Joy and much appreciated. We too stopped presents ages ago. You only have to listen to people wandering round the shops totally flummoxed as to what to get Mrs so and so and Mr whatsits. My daughter in Canada's husband does not celebrate christmas at all and my daughter has followed him obviously as it is her husband. He says he wants to give presents when he wants to and not because he has too (point taken). It did make it a little uncomfortable when we were out there in 2009 although we took presents for our daughter and said we would not do the whole 'christmassy' thing, My other daughter though loves all the glitter, the christmassy tree and present buying - chalk and cheese eh? We did the whole christmassy thing as they grew up, but are no longer interested. I even gave my tree away this year. BUT I would never ever get into debt as reported on the News because like you, years ago we did not have much money and we got what we could afford. There is so much commercialism now and having to keep up with the 'joneses' that it is so sad people get into so much trouble over it - and losing the reason for Christmas too. There are not a lot of people who see it for what it is, and only a time to overindulge. I am not religious either, but I respect those who see it as a special occasion.
I too wish you a happy post-midwinter solstice - what a nice expression and more sincere too. May we continue to chat via the airwaves, or fibre optics or whatever it is we use!! xx

Eileen said...

Hi Joy, we've decided that we'll only buy gifts for the children and that we'll make the effort to spend time together instead. It certainly reduces the pressure usually experienced at this time of year.

Hope you and your family enjoy the holiday season.

Jean said...

I have a slightly different view of present giving. I like to give presents but not extravagant ones. I buy small meaningful gifts for my friends to show my appreciation for their kindness throughout the year. My grandchildren do not live nearby so I do not have that to concern me and made the decision, with the approval of their parents, that I would send a small gift and put money away for them. The part of Christmas I really do hate though is the manic food buying. A lot of the food will be wasted or overeaten to the point of gluttony just 'because it is Christmas' then the same people moan in January about the food they have thrown away and the money they have wasted. Completely mad. So, I do enjoy Christmas but I would never ever spend more than I have just to keep up.
Merry Christmas to you all. See you Tuesday Joy x x

Anonymous said...

I'm just catching up a bit Joy .. I think more and more people are coming to see that the best things in life are not things!

We have reviewed how we spent Christmas. Last year I cut out sending Christmas cards - it had got to the point where I was writing 100+ cards and was not enjoying it (I know - it's not all about me!) Instead I gave a donation to the Wiltshire Air Ambulance and this year I have given to the RNLI.

I've bought a few wooden ELC gifts on ebay for my grandson and will give him what I've saved plus a bit more in money for the future.

My children and I came to the agreement that it would be £5 only spent on a Christmas present. (My OH has a different agreement with his sons) So, hopefully even if we get the gift buying totally wrong only a fiver has been wasted.

I hate the crazy food shopping so this year have organised Sainsbury's to deliver my groceries - the delivery is free if the order is over £100 and delivered mid-week.

So - a bit of a ramble - thanks for commenting on my blog and have a lovely time this weekend.

Kat said...

What a great post. Things are getting out of hand, I totally agree. I am really looking forward to us all being together this year x