Benjamin Britten 'A Ceremony of Carols' is the essence of Christmas.
Doing the last bit of shopping this morning, I was struck by the frenetic trolley stuffing of those that just had to buy more and more. I had a few odds and ends in mine, but I saw tandem shoppers, those that had a trolley each rushing round to fill both. Then there was the bloke behind me at the checkout whose trolley was all alcoholic beverages.
Social media is stuffed with images of Christmas trees of all shapes, sizes and decorations. It's also the place for folk to dwell on those no longer around, anniversaries of deaths and funerals.
November to January deaths seem more telling. Now my Christmas card list contains more crossings out again this year. 10th Dec. 2006 Pol died and her funeral was on the 18th Dec. For ever more those dates have those memories. November is when several long-time OUers departed this life. My former colleague always has a difficult time at Christmas because her husband died on Christmas Eve.
My personal loss was January 1984, a month that rocked my life permanently off its even keel.
Advert slots are for perfumes and gifts, with twee saccharine versions of Christmas.
My neighbour calls it grumble time, quite rightly. She always wants to be left be from Christmas Eve to after New Year. Yet, 3 different sets of people 'want her' for Christmas. The run up is marked by Jan & Ron squabbling over what to eat. Carol and Dave too squabble and make timetable changes depending on who of their family wants to do what. Paul & Ann think neighbour ought not to be alone and vie to get her to be with them.
There are those that do not mind Not joining in with the Revelry. Especially those like my neighbour who for health reasons has a very restricted diet. She's happy in her own company, knowing the her neighbours are nearby just in case.
Christmas can be a time of ill-tempered and totally selfish behaviour. In the run up so many folk a stressed out trying to achieve the unattainable.
Then there's the myth of childhood Christmases past.
The highlights of my Christmases were walking to church and taking part in various services. Only to return home to find 'armed neutrality' and a feeling of 'stepping on eggshells'. No details. Except for the time we saved Christmas by rescuing the food and heaving a sigh of relief because mother stormed out. (Not an unusual occurrence).
Ending on a happier note...
There were the times when as part of a choir, I sang at performances of
Benjamin Britten - 'A Ceremony of Carols' and Handel's 'Messiah'.