Friday 18 December 2015

Happy Holidays!

...I favour tacky Christmas decorations, the more Poundland the better, and like nothing more than framing a wall mirror with gold tinsel, the last word in naff, I’m told (the Savoy’s creative team decrees any tinsel a “no-no”...). Now I’ve bought an illuminated reindeer in rope-lights: just what our garden needs. It’ll set off my blue drip-effect icicle lights nicely, though even my daughter, aged 11, cringes that it looks like we’re attempting some “cheap Frozen theme”. Let’s just say my husband doesn’t share my penchant for house bling. Once he bought a pricey posh wreath and within 12 hours it had been stolen from the front door ... I’ve never turned my entire house into one of those pulsating light shows with a waving Santa on the roof (more’s the pity) but I’ve no problem with those who do. Quite the opposite. It shows generosity of spirit to give passing strangers a cheery boost at your own expense. And OK, there are eco-concerns but it’s only a few days a year unlike those shops which keep the lights on 24/7/365 for no reason. No, it’s snobbery that drives most grinches on this issue. As it happens I’m slightly disappointed with my reindeer: I’ve been far too subtle. I should have got a bigger one. I should have got three. This weekend I might risk domestic discord and buy a seven-footer. (Carol Midgley Times Dec 2015)

Upwards loathe “merry” Xmas, Xmas not Christmas – and “We’re not allowed to call it Christmas!”

They hate Black Friday – American import, and chavs buying chavvy things as usual. Materialism! They are embarrassed by Sun-style patriotism, and the idea of “loving your country” (especially when it means “brown people go home”). But they do love slagging off the Americans, whom they amusingly call “Merkins” or “Usanians”. They want to ban all Americanisms. How? 

What really galls the Upwards is all the MONEY people spend on Christmas – and now Halloween. Bang goes sixpence right and left – and nobody seems to care! But isn’t it good for the economy, or something?

Someone has suggested we rename it “Greedmas”. Upwards really don’t like to see common people buying things. And they still resent poor people having televisions. Does it all go back to the Puritans and Cromwell banning Christmas celebrations? (Apart from the interregnum, the festival was always a blow-out.)

Apparently the rich compete to invite bigger and bigger Xmas house parties (you have to have a house that fits 26, of course).

Wrapping paper – where did that go? Everybody uses gift bags now. How sensible is that?

Upwards have to wrestle their Xmas lights around the (large) tree (“I refuse to give in! I must have REAL lights!”) because they can’t buy an artificial one with lights built in. Caro’s mother is still attaching real candles to the branches, in Victorian tin clip-on candle holders. Such a shame Stow-Crat Hall burned to the ground on Boxing Day – but it was all insured, they carried the valuable contents onto the lawn, and they don’t have to worry about the roof any more.

This year, the Upwards have an Xmas tree made of recycled wood with traces of distressed paint, adorned with antique glass baubles. They do not hang evergreen wreaths (“garlands”) on their doors. They just might accept one made entirely of bare twigs. And no Xmas decorationss in the home before December. (Oliver Cromwell would have loved them.)

As usual, a vicar has told small children the story of St Nicholas and parents are up in arms, wailing: “They’ll stop believing in the tooth fairy next!” Upwards come up with 99 twisted reasons for lying to your children about Santa. It teaches them how to believe. It teaches them how to be skeptical. It gives them faith in a benevolent society – even though this is a myth. (Parents see the adult the child will be, and reasons for folk rituals always change over time.) And it’s “Father Christmas” not “Santa”.

Who buys that M&S Xmas food that’s all slightly wrong? Or do I mean “traditional with a twist”? Xmas pud with an apricot jam centre? Upwards have pudding, not Christmas cake. Chocolate logs with robins and holly are very Weybridge/Teale.

More here, and links to the rest.

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