MichaelCD - The Blog.

The thoughts of Michael Cadwallader. Coffee loving, history book reading, Cheshire man.

Thursday, December 14, 2006

Yet another poser

I have a very large problem with our modern Christmas tradition. We all know that since Victorian times Christmas cards have been exchanged between family and friends. That's fine, I have no problem whatsoever with it. Although having to send cards to people you haven't spoken to for twenty years merely because they send you one, seems like a bit of a tyranny. But, hey, I suppose that there's nothing wrong with a bit of courtesy.

The problem I have is with the cards themselves. Firstly, there is nowhere near the same amount of cards bearing any religious scene. In the modern secular world I suppose that's to be expected. But would it really be such a stretch to endow the card's scene with the star of Bethlehem? A small gesture, true, but one that would at least retain some sense of the religious aspect of Christmas in the minds of the people who receive the cards.

Of course, when entering into a discussion on the nature of Christmas cards, it's easy to forget that even the Victorians would have sent cards with traditional scenes, rather than religious ones. Father Christmas with his reindeer, children bedecking Christmas trees, a family gathered around a log fire or a chocolate box village decorated for festivities. All conjure up the ideal of Christmas, and are a wonderful addition to the main room over the Christmas period. Without them, Christmas is all the poorer. So, I can't grumble about them.

What's annoyed me is an addition to the pantheon of cards sent over the Christmas period, in the last decade. The 'seasons greetings' card. Ninety per cent of these cards have some sort of link to Christmas, either on the outside, or inside within the message. But there are some which have a silly decoration type of display, and these don't even mention the word Christmas in them. You could even say they daren't mention the word.

The motives of the card companies who produce this guff is something I have been pondering. I suppose card companies are trying to be 'trendy' or 'inclusive', imbecility is a more appropriate word. If somebody, heaven forbid, sends me one of these type of cards, what I am I supposed to do? Are they trying to celebrate the winter season? If so, perhaps I should send them a 'spring greetings' card on the Ides of March. Surely, if people have actually bothered to send out cards at this time of year, they must have some sort of feelings towards Christmas. If that is the case, then they must realise that their cards are part of a cultural shift away from the traditions and Christian links of Christmas.

Looking at it perspectively, at the moment this is only relevant to a small minority of cards. Most of the ones recieved by our family have the words Merry Christmas emblazoned in the middle. Some even have the nativity scene. the rest have some sort of a recognisable Christmas scene. But, lest we forget, the decline of religious Christmas was quick, and now it plays a small part in the festival. The decline of cultural Christmas, the one involving family and community, is now going on around us. And the best way to defend the traditional Christmas is a card. A card which says Merry Christmas, and shows a happy family in all its glory. Let's keep the tradition alive.

Over the weekend, I'll be in the south-west, for a family wedding. So no more postings for a bit.

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At 4:36 pm, Anonymous Anonymous said...

In primary school, we always used to make our own cards. We had the choice of something religious or just Santa or reindeer, etc. Strangely, most chose something religious.

I can't be arsed with a lot of cards to friends this year. 20 or so people in primary school is bearable. 100+? No.


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