Friday, 17 September 2010

I have just had no less than three reminders

that Christmas is, apparently, fast approaching.
The first reminder came from my dentist yesterday - she told me she did not want to see me until next year and wished me Merry Christmas as I left. Merry Christmas? It's September!
Then I was standing in the post office waiting to send a book off to my godson for his birthday and I heard the post office assistant saying, "Christmas parcel mail for overseas has to be sent by Wednesday". What? It's September!
Then a friend notes that she has found a box of Christmas cards and should write them now and at the same time another one notes that Christmas things have already appeared in the aisles of the supermarket. Christmas cards? It's September!
All this is too soon for me. I do not want to think about Christmas until December at the very least.
My mother was the person who wrote the Christmas cards in our house. She would send letters to people, handwritten letters tucked inside cards from our charity of choice. It took her hours but she was always happy to write letters. I have no idea what she said. Most of them were sent to people she had not seen for years and only corresponded with once a year. They responded in kind although the list grew shorter each year as people died or simply stopped writing cards.
After my mother died my father said that he would send cards to people who sent cards to us. Unlike my mother my father detests writing letters. We still hear from some people my mother wrote to but the list is small. My father dutifully writes some cards and sends them to people he does not see but, like the people he sees on a regular basis, he no longer writes local Christmas cards.
Most of my friends live elsewhere in the world. Not all of them celebrate Christmas. Some of them are Jewish, Muslim and Buddhist, others have no religious beliefs at all. I keep in touch with most by e-mail - on a regular or irregular basis. I exchange cards with some and small gifts with a few.
But I wonder about the actual celebration of Christmas. Most people I know do not attend church, even those who would put down their religion as "Christian" or "Catholic" or "Anglican" on a census form. Some of my friends would say they have no religious beliefs at all. They still celebrate Christmas.
So, what is Christmas? Why do we celebrate Christmas? Do I need to start writing Christmas cards?
I wonder if the newsagent has any of those overseas calendars? I need to get them into the post before next Wednesday.


Anonymous said...

By the time I shop for Christmas cards all the nice ones are long gone ..... and why do the last few cards to arrive come from people you didn't send cards too?

jtwebster books said...

I must admit to being a Christmasoholic! I adore everything about Christmas - except the endless shopping and busy, busy shops. But I agree, September is way too early to think about it.
I like to decorate the house and put the tree up after school finishes - that's a week before hand in New Zealand.
As Catholics, we do the midnight Mass on Christmas Eve and that is a beautiful way to start the season.
Oh dear, you have got me all excited. I have lists of things to prepare running through my head!

catdownunder said...

Mmmm...I probably need to make the effort and DO something about Christmas!

Nicole MacDonald said...

Christmas is a time to celebrate life I think and being with loved ones. I have no interest in the apparent religious aspects of it, especially as it's a stolen/borrowed holiday ;p

Joanna St. James said...

I love Christmas, the shopping, the reason, the gifts, the family, the snow, I can go on and on.
I heard christmas music being played constantly at a store in Nice (late august), I dont know if they do it year round or if it was just because christmas was the next big fete. In some parts of the world we don't do halloween or thanxgiving so Xmas is it

shandy said...

Thank you for your comment on my blog.
Like you, I find it incomprehensible to have Christmas commercialism start in September. However... I have been known to buy cards in the January sales - and I often pick up presents when on my summer holiday. I hate having to look for things when the shops are crowded.

catdownunder said...

Commercial interests in Australia are starting to do Halloween - could do without it. We will end up celebrating Thanksgiving next (some people reckon we are just another American state anyway). I like to make things to give people or give them books - makes the shopping side fairly simple and is a purpose for my knitting!

catdownunder said...

Hello Shandy - yes, had to prowl over - anyone left reading this? She is a marvellous knitter of Celtic knots!