Sunday, 25 December 2011

Merry Christmas

06:43:00 Posted by Ashley Lister , , , , , 1 comment
from David Riley

Christmas is full of rituals - whatever they may be. The Christian churches, not surprisingly, have several. For many ritual is close to tradition and Christmas is full of those too. The seemingly "time out of mind" might be surprisingly new, often created, for us here in Blighty in Victorian Britain. Christmas trees, cards and the inescapably close association between Dickens and Christmas are
just some. I'd like to look at one of these traditions a little bit. Gift giving.

There's a whole set of unspoken rules about gift giving. If you give money does that mean you haven't really thought about something for that person? What do you give friends rather than relatives? How much should you spend on X or Y? There's the question about the gift from Ann Summers for your significant other. Who is it really for? You or them? Then there's the old standby that looks like someone might have made an effort, the Smelly Perfumy concoctions with titles born on a rainy February in Paris and bottles contorted into somthing ressembliing a glass blower's nightmare. You have some of these. They end their lives at the back of cupboards, unopened from one Christmas to another, which if you listen to the night murmurs in the bathroom, you'll hear them discuss with the discarded bath salts what might have been.

Sometimes the gifts suddenly mean something real. Have you ever given poetry to someone just because they love it? Just because it catches an attitude of mind you might share, opens a door into their heads where you wondered what they thought of you? Not me. Not yet.

I have given a present once that said something. I gave my mother a porcelain figurine of a woman teaching her child to read. When I did, I knew she had given me that gift, years before. Reading. We both knew how precious reading was, without words spoken. Indeed I don't think we could have said them. I just knew, eventually, I wanted to thank her for it while I could.

I have it now, the figurine, now that she's died and I still think about it and the worlds gifts opened up, even if I didn't realise it for a while.


Happy Christmas.


Ashley R Lister said...


This is profound and poignant and captures the true spirit of the season.

Merry Christmas,