I had three paragraphs of a post written, decided to change the font - and lo and behold, the words I had written disappeared. Now I cannot remember how I began the post. It was something like "Why has Christmas changed from a couple of days to an endurance marathon lasting a couple of months?"
The answer, my friends, is not blowing in the wind, but is down to people and the dear old media. Where would we be without the media telling us what to like, what to wear, what to eat and what to spend our hard-earned cash on? Soon they'll be telling us what we believe and the danger is we'll believe them!
Everybody is "Getting ready for Christmas." The supermarkets are crowded, the roads are horribly busy, towns are jam packed and even Facebook has been reduced to adverts on things we can buy. We inflict all this on ourselves and convince ourselves we love it. "I love the bustle and excitement," people will tell you. People go into debt to "have a good Christmas" and kid themselves it is "for the children." I suspect the adults love it even more than the children because it is a break from (paid) work, a chance to indulge without feeling guilty and to admit you don't like Christmas is as good as saying you don't like chocolate. We are going to like it even more this year now that all the strikes are scheduled to take place before or over the Christmas period. If the TV channels go on strike, we will really be thrown on our own resources!
Once Christmas was a religious festival spread over two or three days. Families were nice to each other, exchanged modest presents and went to church. Now it seems to be an explosion of presents, gluttony, an alcoholic haze and a great big blow-up on EastEnders on Christmas day. I suspect Church rarely gets a look in, but would love to be surprised if the opposite were true.
I know the weather is dark and dismal, and the coloured lights in towns and cities lift the spirits. Christmas trees look pretty in the corner of the living room, but imitation trees this year can cost as much as £150 and the baubles that adorn them are expensive. Trees now have to be "dressed," and believe it or not there are people who have made a career out of dressing Christmas trees.
Gone are the home-made paper chains of the fifties and even the sixties, when parents and children actually sat down together and talked as they made them. I think my Christmas is still very much of the old-fashioned variety, and I do celebrate it, but in my own quiet way.
I'll leave it to Tim to wish you all a Happy and Peaceful Christmas.