December, the beginning of the meteorological winter, started off sunny and cold. A good time to nip out with the camera and see what was happening in the countryside.
Lots of Christmas markets and other events happening in the county, but it’s not something I really celebrate now. Maybe as you get older the whole Christmas furore gets a bit much. I am not religious and my children are adults with children of their own. I don’t need expensive gifts and I am a little tired of the whole consumer aspect of the season. We are bombarded with adverts and emails from October to spend our cash, or more likely credit. And perhaps it is time to say goodbye to the Victorian traditions of Christmas, the cards, the tree, Santa Claus, crackers and decorations. Oh, yes, those Victorians were great at commercializing Christmas.
I’m not totally against a little cheer at this time of the year, after all in pagan times it was a celebration of the winter solstice when people had a feast and made merry and decorated their homes with holly and ivy and mistletoe, encouraging the return of spring, and goodness knows we can all do with encouraging that. Father Christmas, dressed in green, was part of this midwinter festival. But it was the Victorians who transformed the idea of Christmas so that it became centred around the family. The preparation and eating of the feast, decorations and gift giving, entertainments and parlour games – all were essential to the celebration of the festival and were to be shared by the whole family. And yes, they brought in the idea of the turkey and singing carols.
I remember Christmas as a child when I got a stocking, complete with shiny new pennies, a red apple, an orange and a few nuts and maybe a couple of small toys like a dinky car and some bubbles. I always got a book, a selection box and some item of clothing – a scarf, new gloves, a hat, socks and as I got older maybe a new winter coat. A game or a jigsaw and a main present – once a bike! Now it seems that parents feel the need to spend hundreds (£$€) on their children and stockings have turned into giant sacks!
Okay, rant over. Thank goodness it only comes once a year. And now it is over I can go out without the risk of crowded streets and crowded shops, I can enjoy the quiet of the countryside and the empty beauty of the beaches. Admire the structure of the winter-bare trees. Photograph lichens and over-wintering birds. Flowers still hanging on despite the cold and wet. Winter light and winter sunsets. And enjoy watching the garden birds visit the feeders I have put up in the tree. The willow tree that is!
And enjoy a nice cup of coffee in the winter sunshine with a view of the sea. And dream of creating new traditions…
The Cardinal is continuing his photo project throughout 2017– a blogging event, a monthly photo challenge. So if you haven’t joined in before perhaps this is the year to do so? Read his blog for the new rules this year (he is running two versions) and to view his interpretation and those of other participants.