Have you ever noticed how many different characters are involved in our Christmas celebrations? When I was young, I remember cards mainly featured a nativity scene, with Mary and Joseph and baby Jesus with the shepherds, angels and the three Wise Kings. And maybe some camels and sheep. And little drummer boys.
Now we have elves, reindeer and turkeys, and of course Santa Claus figures large, in every sense. I recently got a card with an angel holding a wand. Are they getting angels and fairies mixed up or are there Christmas fairies now? And I don’t understand where the toy soldiers come from in Christmas tradition. Mrs Claus often makes an appearance, which is nice, as she’s probably the one who wrapped Santa’s sackload of presents and fed and watered the reindeer.
It’s interesting to see how many Christmas symbols there are, such as tinsel, holly, snowflakes, fir trees, presents, holly wreaths, candles, bells, stars, mistletoe and stockings which at least means that no two cards are ever the same.
Countries in the southern hemisphere that celebrate Christmas in summer still feature snowmen, robins and snow-covered landscapes on their cards, despite never seeing snow at that time of year. But then, there are nativity scenes with snow falling all around. I don’t believe it ever snows in Bethlehem, so there’s a lot of poetic licence going on.
And talking of licence, we are supposed to be politically correct. So may I wish you a fiscally successful, personally fulfilling and medically uncomplicated recognition of the onset of the generally accepted calendar year 2008, but not without due respect for the calendars of choice of other cultures and without regard to the race, creed, colour, age, physical ability, religious faith or sexual preference of the wishee.
In other words, have a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!
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