Monthly Photo Challenge: December

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.

A chess game
A chess game

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!

Christmas wreath
Christmas wreath

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…

A flat white
A flat white

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.


39 Comments Add yours

  1. Anabel Marsh says:

    I’m totally with you on the over-commercialisation of Christmas hype, Jude! Beautiful pictures as always.

    1. Heyjude says:

      Thank you Anabel, I hope you had a peaceful Christmas.

      1. Anabel Marsh says:

        Thank you. Peaceful is a good word! Just the three of us enjoying time together.

  2. beetleypete says:

    You managed a lovely photographic roundup of the month, Jude. Like you, I am very tired of the ‘seasonal celebrations’, but I can’t see them going away any time soon.
    (Thick fog and sleet too this morning. That came as a shock.)
    Best wishes, Pete. x

    1. Heyjude says:

      The weather seems to have been appalling in the east / south-east. Freezing temperatures, fog that lingers most of the day. We have been lucky here, other than the famous Cornish mizzle on Christmas Day itself when there was no time to go out anyway. So what’s for NY? We usually force ourselves to stay up until midnight when I moan about the sheer waste of money going up on fireworks when there are so many people without clean drinking water in the world, finish off the wine and go to bed! Last year we didn’t even bother to open the Prosecco until Easter when we toasted moving!!

      1. beetleypete says:

        We will have out neighbours round on the 31st. See in the new year with something seasonal on TV, then get up the next morning to repeat the whole 365 day process…x

  3. Allotmental says:

    Fantastic blog and post 👍

    1. Heyjude says:

      Thank you. Nice to hear that you enjoy it.

  4. I always feel anxious during the lead-up to Christmas, and then such a relief when it’s all over. I think as we get older, we just don’t want all that hassle, consumerism and hoopla. Enjoying the quiet after the storm is what I love too. Nice reflections and beautiful pictures, Jude. 🙂

    1. Heyjude says:

      I have discussed with the family that we have our clan gathering in summer when they can come down for a weekend, have a BBQ, go to the beach and have long light evenings to drive here and home again. Makes a lot more sense. Plus the kids won’t expect presents!! I’m done with the roast turkey…

  5. I enjoyed your thoughts about Christmas today and past. I hear so many people say I can’t wait for it to be over – even just the pressure to have a big happy family gathering gets a bit much…

    1. Heyjude says:

      Family gatherings are OK if you have space. It’s when you are crammed in and the kids whine because they can’t go out and us oldies can’t stand all the noise, then it gets a bit much. A short stay is good 🙂

  6. restlessjo says:

    Still sounding very mellow for a grump, Jude 🙂 🙂 Especially since you’ve got a houseful and a poorly m-i-l! What a grand Asda, and I do love those sweet little Christmas tree biscuits. Hope you’ve found a little joy along the way, and that 2017 holds lots of good things for you and himself. Sending hugs to carry you into the New Year.

    1. Heyjude says:

      The tree biscuits were very nice actually, as was the carol singing, especially the traditional Cornish songs. We have had some decent weather and I have managed not one, not two but THREE beach walks. And Christmas lights. So now the washing is done again, and our house is back to normal for a while and I can relax. Are you partying at the weekend then 😕

      1. restlessjo says:

        Three??? You’ll almost be fit 🙂 🙂 Sounds lovely. Very quiet New Year, I expect. No parties to go to 😦 😦 But a consolation prize on Monday.

  7. jennypellett says:

    You described how Christmas stockings used to be, Jude. I remember mine as very similar to yours and how delighted I was with a tub of bubbles ! Gloves, hat, scarf – definitely- sometimes a hot water bottle or new pyjamas. And ONE main present. A Sindy doll was memorable – she came with a mini record player and a tiny 45. (Lots of folk won’t have a clue what we’re talking about 😄)

    1. Heyjude says:

      Oh, yes, the hot water bottle, with a cover!! That was luxury!

    2. Lucid Gypsy says:

      I think my Sindy Christmas was when I was nine, she had a check skirt and a fox terrier!

      1. jennypellett says:

        I think my sister’s Sindy had a check skirt…and a brown leather look jacket. I don’t remember the terrier though!

        1. Heyjude says:

          I was never into dolls, other than proper baby dolls. I bought my daughter a Sindy for her 6th birthday dressed as a ballerina as G was totally into her ballet then.

  8. Couldn’t agree more! We decided many years ago to have toast and Vegemite and a surf (them not me for the surf) and to avoid massive gift giving and feasting. The triumph this year was achieving children only gifts, a real triumph in the face of Polish generosity. I used to sit in the staff room as anxiety levels increased from the beginning of November and be glad I was Ms Scrooge. Sometimes I wonder if we deprived our kids of Christmas excitement because it was exciting to have rituals and gifts and food.

    I really enjoy this series of posts: sunshine eh? And remnants of flowers. And the bright air of winter by the sea. Some lovely photos and a great commentary. Are you excited about 2017 after such an eventful 2016?

    1. Heyjude says:

      I DO like your toast and Vegemite idea. Of course easier to impose in a sunny climate. We never did much in SA – usually a braai and often fish at that,with salads, the kids got a stocking and one main present and if we weren’t visiting the grandparents we’d spend the day with friends or on the beach. I have discussed the idea of a summer gathering instead of this Christmas lark. Easier driving conditions, hopefully better weather and we can eat outside! Plus no presents required!

      I have a few more December photos now to post. And I have actually really enjoyed my first Christmas in Cornwall 🙂 2017 is going to be my exploration year.

  9. Lovey photos. It’s good to see that your December is more colorful where you are and full of sunshine. Nothing but leafless trees, cold and grey skies here. I’ll return to your blog to see what January has to offer. Hopefully more of the same.

  10. pommepal says:

    I do so agree with all your “rant” about Christmas. I try to stay well away from all that commercialism. But your description of your childhood Christmas with the stocking with apple and orange in the toe and a few small gifts was exactly as I remember it way back then…. Pleased to hear you had a pleasant time this year in Cornwall. Our Christmas day spent with 5 Grandchildren was a joy, finger foods and salads and of course had to finish with a Pavlova. Then back home, leaving all the paper and tinsel behind for another year. Best wishes for 2017. Will you be visiting Aus this year?

    1. Heyjude says:

      One good thing about doing the visiting is that you can leave!! I would have enjoyed being with you for the pavlova – yummy! Hoping to visit Perth in August, but we shall see.

      1. pommepal says:

        We are going to NZ in March then toying with the idea of Cambodia in July (wow that is making the year slip by!!!)

        1. Heyjude says:

          So you have wanderlust again then? 😀

  11. Lucid Gypsy says:

    It’s all got way our of hand hasn’t it? Each year the expectations for children get higher, we are creating monsters.
    I still enjoy the lights, the pretty trees,the atmosphere and seeing family of course. But best of all, shutting the door and relaxing for a few days.

    1. Heyjude says:

      I have no objections to some light at this time of year, even the cheery markets with the foodie stalls are good fun, except it is a nightmare parking to reach one. At least we have managed to do away with the adult present giving. OH and I exchange a small gift or clothing and then plan on a house gift when the madness is over.

  12. I’m not religious either, so we don’t celebrate the religious aspect of Christmas. In Norwegian the word for Christmas is still the old pagan word Jul (Yule). It’s a lovely holiday, but I agree that it’s too commercial. Everything becomes commercial eventually. Even what was originally alternative underground cultures, like hardcore/punk music and skateboarding has become commercial.

    1. Forgot to say: Thanks for participating in my challenge!

      1. Heyjude says:

        It has been a pleasure CG and a great way to record the passing of the year. Glad you are continuing into a third year 😀

    2. Heyjude says:

      Perhaps eventually people will revert to a simpler way of celebrating? But I won’t hold my breath…

  13. Joanne Sisco says:

    I’m relieved that the holiday season is behind us once again for all the reasons you mentioned. Having said that, I really did have a good time this year with more fun and silliness rather than being frantic to have everything ‘perfect’. I can’t remember where I read ‘it doesn’t have to be perfect – just fun’. That was my motto this year and it made a world of difference 🙂

    1. Heyjude says:

      It just seems to get worse every year with all the expectations for everyone to have a marvellous time. Some of us just like peace and quiet 🙂

  14. I too am over the commercialism and Christmas hysteria since Dylan left home. I even gave our tree away a few years back (although I have kept the decorations for when I have grandchildren). I much prefer to immerse myself in a foreign country at that time of year to escape it all 🙂

    1. Heyjude says:

      I have decorations too and the grandchildren brought their own tree with them! Which foreign country did you escape to then?

      1. Wise minds think alike!! I went to Morocco for just over 2 weeks.

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