There is always a Christmas Post here on the blog. In all the years, through all the Christmases, there has always been something seasonal. The subjects have varied down through the years, How Santa is Real, Off Colour Seasonal Jokes, Insular Christmases, Yuletide Ghost Stories. You name it, this old blog has covered it. Hell, there’s even been a Covid Christmas Blog. I didn’t think there’d ever be another.
Christmas Day falls really close to my Sunday ‘Blog Posting’ day and that’s
always kind-of handy. For those years, I can perhaps squeeze some words out of
the festive marinade I’ve already steeped myself in. Not this year. Here I am,
Saturday afternoon, and Christmas Eve seems a million miles away. There are
four days work left to do and a lot to do in them. There is shopping and
stocking-up and even some more baubles to be hung on the semi-decorated tree.
why it’s hard to get seasonal yet.
bother. This post has to be the Christmas Post because it will be all over bar
the shouting by the time next Sunday comes along. But, yeah, I’m not feeling it.
Maybe it’ll kick in f I keep typing. So, keep typing.
to concoct a blog post for Christmas this year, most of my thoughts have been
about Christmases past and thinking about how long ago they were but also how
not very different they now seem to have been. This is a thought sparked, at
least in part, by having read ‘Small Things Like These’ by Claire Keegan, which
is a very, very good book. In it, an Ireland is described which seems particularly
old and tired and like something from ancient history. But here’s the thing,
it’s Christmas 1985.
loved the book, my brain found it hard to parse this literary vision of 1985
with my own memories and experience. The Ireland of the book seems more like a
1950’s place than a 1980’s place. Granted, by 1985, I was gone to London. In 1985, I went to Live Aid, Ghostbusters and
Gremlins had already been out for a year, Shakin’ Stevens was Number One. This
was not a time of coal trucks and power-wielding convents. This was not such an
course, it was.
a theory off the back of this. A bit like that human ear on the back of that
mouse. It’s simply this: Things that happened in our own lifetime do not seem
so old. Things that happened even one day before we are born, seem ancient and
from another world.
For me, my Christmases
don’t seem to have changed very much at all over the 58 ones I’ve had. High
Society and Ice Station Zebra have always been on the telly. There has always been
a good exciting present to receive. There was always food and family and fun.
course, as we all know, everything has changed. Those film I mentioned may be still
around, but they are now buried on some classics channel where once they were
the main attraction. Gifts have grown in size and quantity, as has the food and
drink. Most profoundly of all, the Family is a different Family – my Family. That
Family of 50 years ago (also my Family) is scattered and some are (tragically)
the same, yet all is changed. It’s like that old French phrase except reversed.
I look to
movies from my life span, and they don’t seem all that old. The Beatles, in the
clips I’ve seen from that new documentary, seem fresh and vibrant. I look to something
made before I was born, like West Side Story, and it's like it is from another
just another Christmas illusion. Last night, on the telly, ‘Die Hard’ came on. For
perhaps the first time, it looked a bit dated and old. Perhaps that’s because I
only saw the opening ten minutes and that’s a part I rarely see. There are
openly displayed guns on planes and smoking in airport terminals. The hero ogles
every other female as if they are a piece of meat. It’s from another time, just
like I am. (It’s still great when it all kicks off though).
'What is the
point of this story?', as Paul Simon once said, 'what information pertains?'
know, really. Christmas is a time for reflection, yes, but the reflections can
be distorted and given a golden hue, as if reflected in one of those baubles on
Best not to
dwell on it all too much, perhaps. Elder son arrives on the train on Tuesday evening
and Younger son is fresh returned from London. Once again, it looks like we will
all be allowed to be here together, under this roof. That’s the best thing ever.
It should be nice. It always is. But the weight of the years bears down a
little, the trickling fear of the virus creeps persistently around the back
once a toast to absent friends was nothing more than a series of words to be
spoken, these days the memory of those absent friends sits across from us at our
table and smile at us with their eyes, from across the years.
Thank you for stopping by the old blog this year. It has meant a lot. I wish you a Happy Christmas and hope it brings you some light and warmth and a little respite from the everyday.