It’s That Time of Year Again

So, here we are again at that time of year when everyone seems to go crazy, often completely overboard just because it’s Christmas. A special time of year, yes, but Christmas is only 1 day. One day, not 3 months, which is how it now seems to be. It was back in August when I first spied Christmas cards and mince pies for sale in the supermarket; mince pies with a use-by date of 31 Oct 2016! And as we hit December running, I can’t find my usual things in the supermarket, because shelves have been reorganized for Christmas stock – row upon row of chocolates and sweets and all the good things to eat. Horrendous queues at checkouts; one would think we’re going to be snowed in for 6 months with the amount people buy “just in case unexpected visitors arrive!” The stress and worry, never mind cost, usually on credit cards that take over a year to pay off, of buying gifts for everyone including neighbours, the cat, and anyone else who happens to pass or ring the doorbell. Houses in our town decorated since October with icicle lights blinking from the guttering, and Christmas trees on sale in November, which will have shed all their needles by 25 December.mr-mrs-snowman

I may sound a bit of a grouch, a kill-joy, Scrooge, a person who hates Christmas, but I am not. Quite the contrary. I think it is a magical, wonderful time of the year. I just wish it didn’t start so early, that the commercialism wasn’t so intense because nowadays, that sparkle, that anticipation has been killed. It just isn’t the same any more.

In my childhood home, the Christmas tree didn’t go up until Christmas Eve, long after we kids were in bed so that in the morning, there it was in all its glittering glory with our presents – mostly handmade by my parents: clothes and toys, just a few each, stacked underneath. As children in the 1950s and early 1960s we were extra lucky, although we didn’t realise it at the time.

Every year my German grandmother would send over a large parcel to us in England. It would be packed with all the lovely, delicious treats of Christmas that were then unobtainable here: glittering Advent calendars, iced gingerbread hearts and Lebkucken, and Pfeffemusse, marzipan filled Stollen, and so much more. I think it was smell of that parcel I remember most, that wonderful spicy cinnamon and ginger smells that said “Christmas is coming.”

tree Christmas in the Domino house is a very quiet affair now. We do have a tree, an artificial black one with gold baubles and one two other little sentimental decorations. We stopped doing presents years ago, except for the littlest children, and how much simpler and more enjoyable it has become. We’d rather folk spent their money on themselves, not on us. We don’t have turkey to eat, we don’t like it. We might indulge in a Christmas pud and a few mince pies, but no crackers to pull on the table. No fuss, no hassle, simply a large enjoyable meal in good company in an atmosphere of calm serenity to relax in.

Don’t get me wrong. I love large family gatherings. The noise, the laughter, the company, and I do so wish I could have all of my family at mine one year, but we are many and scattered far afield. Thank goodness for the telephone and internet so we can at least speak to each other even if we can’t share a hug and a kiss. The thoughts are with family. With friends. With those we have lost and those who are new to the fold. With memories. To me, this is what Christmas is all about: Family. Not the gifts, not the food, not the decorations, as much as I love seeing them. It’s also about magic. Father Christmas and sleigh bells, and the Christmas movies to make you laugh and perhaps shed a tear.

I’ll leave you with what is one of my favourite Christmas carols. Apologies if you’ve heard it before but I’m sure many haven’t. Whatever Christmas means to you and whatever you do this Christmas, do have a good one. A safe one. A warm one, from the heart.

Silly me: I meant to include the English lyrics. These are the closest and best I’ve come across for translation.

The Bells Never Sound Sweeter

The bells never sound sweeter
Than at Christmas-time.
It’s as if angels would sing
again of peace and joy,
How they sang at blessed night!
How they sang at blessed night!
Little bells with their holy ringing,
The earth chimes along!

Oh, when the bells ring out,
As soon as the Christ child hears them,
He swings from the sky
Hastily down to earth.
He blesses the father, the mother, the child
He blesses the father, the mother, the child.
Little bells with their holy ringing,
The earth chimes along!

It chimes with a sweet sound
Far across the seas,
So that all will take delight in
The blessed Christmas-time.
All rejoice with beautiful song,
All rejoice with beautiful song,
Little bells with their holy ringing,
The earth chimes along!

 

 

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8 responses to “It’s That Time of Year Again

  1. I so agree with you, Kit. It all starts far too early, so that by the time it gets here many of us feel punch drunk with it all. I do like all the sparkle though, just not too much and too soon 🙂 Beautiful carol and magical video. I hadn’t heard the carol before, but can certainly understand why it’s your favourite.Thanks for sharing.

    • If I were prime minister, I would ban any Christmas stuff before 1st December! It’s the staff in the stores and supermarkets I feel sorry for, Tricia. They have to listen to the piped Christmas music constantly while they work throughout December. At least us shoppers can escape from it.

  2. Great post, Kit. I, like you, get very tired of the commercial side of Christmas. It’s earlier and earlier each year! So much so that it takes a few days after Thanksgiving for me to really get into the season these days. But, like you, there are so many happy memories that I do love it. We still do a big brunch at my brother’s house each Christmas morn. It will be very bittersweet without Mom there this year. But we will still gather and feast and share our love of family.
    Your tree is lovely. We’re going to do a live tree this year, then look for another artificial one after the holidays (they are frightfully expensive!). A smaller, lighter one than the one we’ve had for 10 or so years.
    Have a very blessed holiday, Kit! I loved the song. Went and looked up the lyrics. The ringing of bells are a sound like no other. Peaceful. 🙂

    • I meant to include the lyrics in my post, Laurie, so I’ve added them in. Most translations are hit and miss but hopefuly you got the gist. Our mother used to sing it to us when we were small. Love the sound of bells (especially sleigh bells) and the glockenspiel, and I would dearly love to have a real tree, the smell of pine adds to the atmosphere of the season, dragging one home was part of the fun. 🙂

      Will be thinking of you on Christmas day, I know how hard it was for my family the year we lost my father. Warm Wishes. xx

  3. I love Christmas and somehow push all the early commercial stuff out of mind. It helps that I am shopping more online these days. We used to have huge Christmas gift giving but a few years ago stopped except for the little ones. Now we do an exchange gift and enjoy each other.

    I love the carol and video. Thanks bunches for sharing it with us.

  4. what beautiful memories! I love the holiday but I mostly love the lights and the cozy nights in front of the pretty tree and the fire. I agree about the commercialism. Jillian

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