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.