Monday, 16 December 2013

Taking Back Christmas

Tudor Pomander photo © Debs Cook
Oh dear... It's been a while since I blogged on here, lots has been happening in life but I'm making a promise to myself that I'll be adding to this blog more from now on. I've been enjoying watching 'Tudor Monastery Farm' over the past few weeks, I love historical programmes that show you how things used to be, I learn things that I never knew and get to see a glimpse of a time gone by. The more I watch though, I'm left with a sense of loss, this country of ours, the people, we've lost so much, slowly but surely our culture and heritage are being whittled away things we used to celebrate in merry old England are long gone, replaced by a a red and white suited man who was 're-invented' by the Coco Cola company in the 1930's.

I know Christmas has been around for a long time, but the meaning is no longer understood by so many people, its all about what they want, and its almost always material. The spirit is dead, hijacked by the big corporate stores and industries that tell us we need to have this, we're not doing it right if we haven't bought this or that and we're failing to observe Christmas if we don't buy everything they sell us. For me the feeling is now almost non-existent, I remember that excitement as a child and being happy with a few small toys and a pillowcase (my Mum didn't do the stocking thing!) with our presents and tangerines, nuts and a little pack of chocolate coins.

In our house we're 'done' aside from cooking the food on the day, but boy did I struggle to get anything like Christmas spirit this year. I hated writing a swathe of Christmas cards, I yelled "What's the point?' at the wrapping paper, feeling grumpy that all the effort but in to wrapping the ruddy gifts would be torn off in an instant so people can see what they got! Pffft! I wasn't even going to put the tree up or any decorations, in fact I was on the verge on enrolling in the 'Bah Humbug' school of Christmas. Very unlike me, I'm usually there on the 1st December wanting to put decorations up, getting excited about choosing gifts, wrapping and presenting.

Something was wrong, it took me a while to realise what it was but it slapped me in the face when I read a friend of a friend say on facebook - after a discussion voicing a similar christmas apathy to mine - if you don't like it, take back christmas and make it what you want it to be. Basically take the elements that make you happy and build on them, don't do what you're told to, do what you want to! Never a more true series of words did I read, like the bells that ring out at Christmas, those words really resonated!

It's a little too late to do this 100% for this year, and yes I know back in September I said I was going to make all our gifts myself, but I chickened out, I let the self instilled guilt and commercial sweet talk sway me. All our gifts have been bought again, with the exception of some were making this weekend for my husband's family. Will post about it after Dec 25th though, some may read this and it will spoil the surprise ;)

The turkey is history, we're having pork on the 25th, the cranberry sauce is out, instead the pork is being served with homemade crab apple jelly, and orange sauce, something served at Tudor tables which is basically marmalade, red wine and water. I'm also going to make a traditional mince pie, as the Tudor's would with mince beef, suet, spices and dried fruit. Veg is on the menu, but the sprouts are not, there will be no xmas pudding either, neither of us like it so why do we buy it and force ourselves to eat it? Stupidity that's why, which stops now! I'm thinking that we'll have a trifle or a ginger & syrup sponge with custard instead. We've been given a lovely homemade Christmas cake as a gift from my sister-in-law. I know it will be lovely because last years was, my SIL makes almost all of her gifts, last year I got a couple of crocheted hats, one I adore and will be worn with pride until it falls off my head in bits lol!

And next year.... Aside from my young nephews and niece who won't understand why they aren't getting the latest toy or fad that they're in to, EVERYBODY is getting a homemade gift, we've already drawn up a list based on my skills and my hubby's skills. I'm going to attempt to decorate the house in a simpler way using fresh greenery, herbs and spices like they did in times gone by. I'm even thinking of making some traditional gifts from our rich English past and including information on who used it and why as part of the present. I'm going to give the gift of time, and feel happy at what I do, if people don't like it then they can stay on the commercial train to insanity and I'll take a nice trip along memory lane, wrapped in tradition and reveal in the fact that in my own way I'll be taking back Christmas!

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Thanks for your comments on my cards and posts, they are very much appreciated, I'll get back to you as soon as I can if a reply is required. Hugs - Debs x