I don’t go much into the ‘traditional’ aspects of the festive season. I don’t celebrate a religious Christmas, and I prefer to call the season Xmas.
I think Xmas is a good term, because you can use the ‘X’ to represent whatever you want it to*.
For me, it’s the end of the year, summer is here and I have enforced leave from work. It’s a good time to spend with family and friends, exchange presents if we like, eat lots of food, and relax a bit.
I see it as very much a summer festival.
I’m not a fan of the winter-like appearance and feel of most traditional ‘Christmas’ decorations, which are entirely appropriate for a Northern Hemisphere winter celebration, but for me seem totally out of place in summer. They are for the winter solstice festivities, which we don’t widely celebrate in this country (I wish we did!).
I wrote a bit about how many elements of our traditional Christmas celebrations have come to us from pre-Christian Winter Solstice festivities, and from other cultures and traditions, back in June. I find it interesting to find out how different societies have celebrated and commemorated the event through history.
I also find the Summer Solstice traditions interesting and would like to find ways to weave some of them into my summer celebrations. (Probably not the one involving naked dancing around a bonfire at midnight.)
The Summer Solstice occurs on the 22 December. Some people refer to it as Midsummer, while others suggest the Solstice actually marks the beginning of summer. (This is an interesting article, although it refers to the Northern summer solstice, which occurs in June. I assume the science is the same, but just reversed for the Southern Hemisphere.)
I’m leaning towards the ‘beginning of summer’ camp, because the weather we’ve been having so far hasn’t exactly felt summer-like, and our hottest days seem to happen in late January and February, rather than in December.
But I suppose it really doesn’t matter. It’s summer time. It’s time to celebrate.
In past years I’ve put up a rather sad looking baby Xmas tree and embellished it reluctantly with a few Xmas decorations. (Well, there was that one year I decorated it with logos cut out of beer cans . . .)
This year I decided to put my money where my mouth is and dispense with the Xmas tree altogether. Instead, I put up and decorated what I am calling a ‘summer tree’. It’s covered in lots of red and gold ribbons, stars and flowers, as I see these colours as representing the sun in summer. I added on some fake fruit (very classy), some birds – a cockatoo, a kookaburra (this is Australia after all) and a little bird in a nest, which is actually more springtime, but who cares – and to top it off, that most Australian of icons, an ugg boot.
|The Summer Tree|
|The bird section|
|Yes, I have an ugg boot on my tree.|
Not a single bit of tinsel.
Actually looking at it now, it doesn’t quite look summery enough. It almost looks like it’s getting into autumn. Maybe I need some more colours.
Anyway it’s done now, so that’s it for this year. Juniordwarf is quite impressed with it, and he’s very excited about Christmas. Especially Santa.
While he’s still little, that’s one part of Christmas I’m happy to hang onto. It’s so exciting for him to make his list, sing songs about Santa and have his photo taken. And I love to see him being this excited. It’s such a thrill.
* I read that interpretation of the word somewhere a while ago, but can't remember who it was that said it. However, I believe that the reason it was originally spelled like that was that X is the first letter of the Greek word for Christ.