Not this year, because I have no decorations this year, but from a couple of years ago when we were Kovid free, had family at Christmas and everything was a little different. We have our memories and that is something to treasureFOTD 25th December 2020: Christmas
Christmas Day in my little corner of my little Switzerland and yes, the sun is shining, so it must be Christmas after all. A week of rainy mornings, but the afternoon always brightens up for a couple of hours, before the sun sinks.
So what does Christmas mean to me? Well let us cut out the buying stress, the cooking of the food and as an extra this morning, putting new linen on the beds. I also got more happy Christmas wishes on Facebook than I have ever seen. I think everyone found a picture to post using their Happy Christmas greetings, all with the more or less same Facebook frame and colour. Today is Christmas Day which probably means tomorrow I will be bombarded with family groups beneath the Christmas Tree who I do not know personally and, of course, again wishing a Happy Christmas.
Now don’t get me wrong. Of course I love receiving these sincere Christmas wishes, although in Facebook they are just names I recognise from perhaps an earlier participation in a World Cafe, Yoville, or Farming game. They still happen to be in my collection of “friends” in Facebook. WordPress is something different. Over the years I have got to know many people, their online lives and their interests and I know them all.
Anyhow Christmas has now ran its race again for this year. Although, just a minute. What did I see (on Facebook again). Boris Johnson, the British Prime Minister, has sent me “Happy Christmas” message on my Facebook page. I read it out to Mr. Swiss, but he was not impressed. I think he might even have been a bit jealous getting such a personal message from the blond bombshell of the British Government. To be quite honest I am one of his followers in Facebook. You never know whether it will be useful or not. I even watched his Christmas message online after my midday sleep. He even told me not to have arguments with my in-laws. I no longer have any in-laws Boris, they are long gone.
So have a happy one as long as it lasts, and it will be back with certainty next year again – time to begin to compose your next year’s Christmas present list, and even think about what to cook over the season’s holidays. Some of the decorations are still hanging around.
But it arrives already at the end of October and stays until the end of the year.
I thought I had seen the backs of these two guys in the supermarket and was not unhappy. Christmas the time of giving and feeling good and collapsing after all the cooking and preparations. I know I am a Christmas Grinch. When the kids were small you just got carried along with it all, buying presents, packing presents, decorating the Christmas Tree and throwing Christmas ornaments everywhere. Do not forget the candles, we must have enough candles to light our way into and through the celebrations.
As a young mother and wife, you put a brave face on it all, welcomed the family to the dinner for 7 or was it 8, might have been 10, but I survived.
This evening Mr. Swiss passed a remark.
“In two weeks time it is Christmas Eve.”
Ok, perhaps not a big deal in other countries, but in Switzerland and a few other European places, it is the beginning of it all. I don’t even believe in all this stuff, but I am not alone in the world, and if everyone else does then who am I to spoil it all. Christmas presents now take care of themselves. We buy our own, or do not buy them. Who cares, it’s the food that counts. I no longer have a Christmas tree, except for the mini version somewhere in the cellar.
So I began to think. Two weeks and we begin to eat as if famine was around the corner. The discussion began.
“On Christmas Eve I will cook something good and quick, no big deal, just expensive. On Christmas Day I will roast something.”
“No, you might not get a good piece of roasting meat if you order it. Make something else.”
“Schnitzel in mushroom cream sauce?”
“That’s a good idea.”
“And Boxing Day a piece of cooked ham?”
The logistics are completed. In between we made a few remarks about the poor people in other countries that can be glad to have anything to eat. We also realised not too much meat, we are getting older and no longer appreciate large quantities, which lead to digestive problems. Except for No. 1 son, he eats until there is nothing more to eat.
But I still have 2 weeks to think about it. We are only three people, not an army. I really don’t mind Christmas basically I suppose. Ok I am just the Christmas grinch that is glad when it is over, when I no longer have to feed the five thousand (and he did it on a couple of fish and a few slices of bread). Perhaps I might even have time, after the dessert of course (just some ice cream, whipped cream and luxury fruit) to play with my computer.
Roll on Easter, at least that is the time of fasting, except for the chocolate eggs and bunnies.
My topic generator tells me that peace is cheap. I am not so sure about that one, it seems to me that for the sake of peace a lot of people have to die, but let’s not get political. It is too complicated and we all have our own point of view.
Something else came to my attention today, when I did my usual Wednesday visit to the local hunting grounds, know as supermarket. For some time an empty desolated tent had been constructed on the left of the main entrance. The gardening season had passed, carnival is next year and as we don’t celebrate halloween, it could not be for this purpose. Actually the local supermarket really did their best to convince the Swiss people that halloween was something we had been missing out on for the past years. Our cemeteries were quiet at the end of October and the children were deprived of tricking and treating.
A few years ago, the idea was born in the public relations departments in the Swiss supermarket chains – let’s do it. Contact our manufacturers in Hong Kong and China and tell them to produce plastic ghosts and coffins with a hint of haunt. Sweet companies were organised to produce sugar coated mini pumpkins as well as chocolate covered vampires and skeletons or whatever. After all what the yanks can do, so can we. Unfortunately after three years of trying the Swiss gave up and left it to the Yanks. Above all they were losing money as no-one wanted or needed halloween, and the few children that ventured to knock at a door and pronounce their trick or treat threats were either sent away empty handed, or no-one bothered to open the door. No, Switzerland was no a halloween land, although on 1st November the cemeteries are full of visitors paying their respects to the departed. It is All Souls Day and the flower shops do a good trade in selling their arrangements for the grave.
But actually I started somewhere else. On the left of the supermarket entrance, on 14th October, the secret was aired, and this is what I saw next to the tent entrance.
Weihnachtsmarkt means Christmas market. They had arrived, the father christmas, snowmen, candles and decorations for the tree. I felt sorry for the snowmen, we still have temperatures of 8-10°C and they might melt already. Perhaps it is a good idea to start early. I do not think that my relations would appreciate receiving my Christmas cards in October, but they were also packed in neat see-through plastic waiting for a customer. Perhaps I should phone the local forest department and reserve my Christmas tree to ensure that I actually receive one. I believe there is a text “peace on earth and goodwill to men”, although I very much doubt that it is today inexpensive when I saw what they were charging for these monster mega Father Christmas statues.
I decided to leave it for the time being. First of all I have Mr. Swiss birthday at the end of October, at the beginning of December it is MY birthday, so what’s the rush. I am not sure about the inexpensive peace at Christmas, there is too much money and advertising involved.
There was excitement in the office. It was time for the annual Christmas slogan: after all an advertising agency lived from good ideas.
“Ok men, think. We want to show the public that our catering service is the best. We want to save the housewives the exhaustion of preparing a family banquet, but it has to be good. We have two days for the perfect solution, so boys get to work. Bring me something breathtaking, make it good and above all think it is a family occasion; something for the mothers and fathers, the grandparents and above all the children. Imagine their sparkling eyes when the food arrives on the table from our catering service.”
Now that was an inspiring speech Joe Doe thought and so when he arrived at his desk he switched on the computer and began to play with some Christmas photos. He even switched on some Christmas carols on the computer to play as background music and all the fellow workers in the office joined in when he began to sing “We wish you a merry Christmas” in time to the music, although it was actually only the beginning of October. Joe’s boss liked to be on time with their new campaigns and the men were trained to obey.
Santa was the main figure in the photo, but a Santa giving out the gifts or sitting on a sleigh together with Rudolf would not inspire the housewives, and they were the target of the effort. They would be organising, telling their men to buy. It had to be something homely, but Santa had to be there and then he had an idea.
Why not let Santa do the cooking? Yes he was sure that would be a seller: Santa baking Christmas cookies over the oven. Joe noticed a shadow over his computer terminal. It was the boss, watching over his shoulder.
“Good idea Joe, yes I think you are on the right track. Something completely different: a rear view of Santa. No shiny red cheeks giving the idea that Santa might have drunk a little too much Christmas spirit. Ha Ha. No Santa is working hard, showing the women that even Santa needs catering. Carry on Joe, looks good.”
Joe was inspired, he was sure extra Christmas money would be in his pay packet at the end of the year. Santa was there, but let’s shift him to the right of the picture. We want to save the housewives time and energy, we want them to buy the food and not make it themselves. Joe decided to insert a comfortable dining room arrangement to highlight the relaxation of having someone do all the work. Just have it delivered and put it on the table. He still had a day to finish his work, so he spent it with using homely warm colours of red and silver. Yes Christmas was coming with all the catering necessary.
Joe’s boss was looking over his shoulder again.
“Can I make a suggestion Joe?”
“Go ahead” said Joe, although he really wanted to do it all by himself, but the boss was the boss.
“I would put a bit of contrast on Santa, perhaps some snow on his dress like this.”
Joe watched as his boss took the mouse and spread some white shades on the red on the computer.
“No buts Joe, that is the finishing touch.”
Of course all the other workers in the office submitted their ideas, but none were as original as that from Joe. One even showed Santa with a cooked turkey with snow flocks, but the boss laughed.
“A cooked turkey with snow is not logical. The snow would melt with the heat and our housewives do not put snow on the turkeys. Show no food, we keep the food hidden. The buyers can choose their products from our menu suggestions.” And the menu suggestions were quite expensive if Joe remembered correctly.
D-Day arrived and of course Joe won the competition. His idea was the best especially as the boss had put the finishing touches on the photo. No-one wanted to improve the boss ideas. He was always the best, although Joe did have a strange thought in his mind. It was perhaps the slogan the boss had decided on that gave Joe second thoughts, but the boss was the boss.
“To ensure that your next Christmas is not for the a***”. Joe found it a little too down to earth, to compare Santa with a subordinate part of the anatomy, but in the 21st century things were different and the boss always knew better. It was perhaps the snow stain on the red trousers ……”
The following week the posters were plastered all over the shops in the areas belonging to the advertising agency. By the end of the week the first complaining letters had arrived at the newspaper.
“This is not Christmas worthy, Santa does not suffer from flatulation or attacks of wind and definitely the product would not be snow etc. etc.”
There followed a column in the newspaper where the advertising agency were criticised and eventually it was promised that the posters showing a Santa with digestive problems would be removed.
You think I invented this story. Well I did a little bit. Of course who Joe is I do not know, and whether the boss made the wrong decision is another open question. All I know is that I took this photo this morning of the poster on the wall of the parking lot, the last remaining poster. The other posters have already been removed from the supermarket. Our local newspaper was flooded with letters of complaint and Santa has been reinstated in his task of taking rides with Rudolf and bringing the children their Christmas presents. The catering company exists, but Santa will definitely not be cooking the food. He is probably too old to bend and it would not be advisable.
You get to enjoy the best day ever — describe in detail what that means to you. Where are you? What will you do? What’s the weather like? What will you eat? Who will you see?
Photographers, artists, poets: show us INDULGENT.
Another prompt I will have to slip around. I noticed it has been up an hour and only one contribution has been made. Probably the Christmas fun is the reason; people are too busy enjoying their best day ever to write about it.
I have had some good days in life, memories of which remain. The less good days slip away from my mind. Life is too short to indulge in bad memories. Best days are not composed of where, doing, weather, eating and seeing. Best days are a calm feeling you have inside that all is well, nothing goes wrong and you can relax and breathe and treasure being in good health, which many cannot.
My daily computer tour is usually the same. Look in on the e-mails, is WordPress still there, and of course the customary trip across the Facebook landscape. I am not an avid writer in Facebook, my main contribution being the cross posting of my blogs from WordPress. Some people even read them. Today was a real lookalike sensation.
First of all I was confronted by Christmas wishes from all over the world, from my cyber colleagues that I have never met. They really take pains to present wonderful graphics full of the Christmas spirit. I cannot summon up the energy to do this myself and my wishes are usually season’s greetings. At the moment I am enduring the second day of Swiss Christmas. We had a good lunch, we are taking it easy, no stress. Yesterday was the big family day, and to be quite honest I could only really relax when the food was eaten and the presents distributed.
I saw photos of turkeys in all situations. Being ready for the big bake, their carcass draped with spicy extras, perhaps bacon slices and their insides stuffed to the maximum. Here perhaps a few minutes’ reflective thoughts for the motherless turkey chicks now left to tend to themselves, until next year when we again decimalise the turkey population. I saw photos of laid tables ready for the feast and so many decorated fir trees it was overwhelming.
Many years ago when No. 2 son sung in the cathedral choir I attended a midnight mess. Not really my thing, but we do everything for the kids, and he would have to walk home on his own in the dark in the early hours of the morning. Not being catholic or anything else, I found it to be an interesting service, very symbolic and the choir sang wonderfully.
Yesterday evening through some perchance, I watched the midnight mass at St. Pauls in Rome with the pope himself as the chief. It was a channel hopping thing but we remained and watched about an hour until eleven in the evening. I quite like this new pope, he is a realist, knows what religion should be about, cares for those not so fortunate as himself and has changed quite a lot of the customs in the Vatican, much to the disappointment of many fellow Vaticanites. It is a wonder that he was elected I think. I am not becoming a convert, but I have no problem with religion. Comparing him with photos from his predecessors at the same mess, there was a great difference, mainly in the clothes. Clothes do not make a person, it is what inside that counts, but they leave an impression. The pope was dressed in a plain white church cassock, no pomp and circumstance, no bejewelled clothing, just plain and simple in white with his famous brown shoes and a white skull cap. The fancy slippers seem to have disappeared from the uniform.
The transmission of the service was interesting. Perhaps it was public relations pure, but it was an unforgettable experience. The organisation and logistics were perfect. Every participant knew what to do and when. It was fascinating and I enjoyed it more than any Hollywood show or film. I must be getting sentimental in my old age.
And as the golden blogging sun sinks slowly in the West, I will now leave this place and put my hope and faith in the future blogs that I will be writing until the end of the year.
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- Naughty or Nice (in a busy city) | MC’s Whispers
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- Traversing Tongariro | Reveries of Forevers
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- Days of bests | 2 times pink
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- Daily Prompt: The Best Day Ever | Indira’s Blog
- day one | belindabroughton
Share a time when you were overcome with guilt. What were the circumstances? How did you overcome you guilt?
Photographers, artists, poets: show us REFLECTIVE.
A reflective glance on the cold frosty days we had. Today it was sunshine pure and warm. Even my birds gave up visiting the birdhouse for food, they are too fat anyhow.
This will be a shorter contribution as if I stay longer on the computer I will have a haunting guilt that my seasonal evening meal will not be ready on time. Today, Christmas Eve, is the big day in Switzerland, where families get together in the evening, exchange gifts and generally be merry and celebrate. Being Switzerland, the celebration runs on a quieter scale. For a golden oldie like myself it is even quieter, just I, me and myself, Mr. Swiss and sons No. 1 and 2. Daughter ½ visited two days ago on her way to a Swiss mountain holiday with man and we are now all set.
So to avoid a haunting guilt feeling, I will soon progress to the kitchen, finish dressing my meat and put it in the oven (low temperature and slow cooking method) so that it will be à point and ready on time. The veg has been prepared, the entrée also: all I have to do is to prepare the potatoes and make the port wine sauce. Where do I get such great ideas? If you ever see my son No. 2 hovering around on my blogging sites – just ask him. Usually he just looks in and if it is not about felines, he actually reads what I write.
There is of course a desert, but that is frozen – so thanks to the modern day deep refrigeration that is no problem. It continues tomorrow, but we are less people and there is less to cook at lunch time.
I have never been overcome by guilt, it is not a subject for me. Of course, if anything happens you will be the first to know, you will read it in the international press. “Angloswiss lady sentenced after being found guilty of plagiarism. After receiving her Nobel/Pulitzer/ Booker prize for her blogging talents, it was found that it was all lies. It never happened, it was just the vivid imagination of a golden oldie.”
WordPress gave us a year’s blogging subjects, unfortunately they are the daily prompt blogging subjects we had this year. I have now noticed that up to now I have done them all, have not missed a day and so will continue until the last day of the year. Many are clapping hands at the list we have been given. I seem to be the only one that has made a negative comment in the sense that there is nothing new there.
Wishing you all the best of the season, do not eat too much, do not drink too much and get enough sleep – OK, I know you will, but so will I.
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- One Starving Activist
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- without warning, | y
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What is your very favorite holiday? Recount the specific memory or memories that have made that holiday special to you.
Photographers, artists, poets: show us BELOVED
Daily Prompt sometimes wants to know too much. I like writing my blogs, but avoid telling too much of my private life and this is asking for too much private so I am not going into too many details.
My favourite holiday? I do not do favourite holidays, they happen and I do what everyone expects me to do. I think in this case Christmas is the holiday that is asked for. I am an athest, but find having a celebration once a year with all the trimmings is OK.
Christmas was a good holiday when I was a kid. They were what I call the black and white holidays, because if we had any photos (and we do not) they would be in black and white, coloured films being too expensive in the fifties and beginning sixties. It was a family Christmas, it had always been that way and so it stayed. The family being mum’s family with a short visit to dad’s mum and dad and sister before the party started. Me, my five cousins and the aunts and uncles gathered at the biggest house in the family where my aunt lived. She had the tree, in silver plastic, we had presents and all the aunts gathered in the kitchen to make the tea. Evening was a party with music, dancing and singing and plenty to drink. Of course it was fun, I had no work, got presents and we kids were left to ourselves.
So let us fast forward to my days when I had young children of my own. My mum and dad would come from England to Switzerland and spend the week with us. We had a tree, done Swiss style with real candles. Mum was a bit nervous on that one, thinking that the house would probably burn down if we were not careful. We celebrate in Switzerland on 24th December in the evening, another problem for mum. She was used to a real good old East End knees up party on 25th. Switzerland is more into the real meaning stuff of Christmas. We have fun, not exactly a carnival celebration, more on the quiet side.
The evening meal is the meal of the holiday, meaning mum cooks it and all the others eat it. Not like the ham sandwiches from the good old black and white days, no you prepared it. and cooked it. Perhaps a chateau briand with the trimmings, meaning making a sauce to go with it and various vegetables. It was work in the kitchen. Of course you supply a desert, could be ice cream and fruit, or something with a delicate sweet sauce. After the meal the kids are to produce something, perhaps say a poem or play an instrument and sing. Then they get the presents from the tree. Just not the happy go lucky Christmas from the good old days in London, something completely different. I think it was then I realised that Christmas could be hard work and it was probably similar for my aunts when I was younger.
Time goes on, the family grows up, and the kids are no longer kids. I now like my quiet Christmas. It is now on a smaller scale, the work is less, the stress is less and the presents are less.
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Was there a special gift or toy you wanted as a child but never received? What was it?
Patsy was so excited. She could hardly sleep. Christmas was in two weeks and tomorrow she could visit Father Christmas and tell him what she wanted for Christmas. Mum and dad told her that Father Christmas always did what he could to fulfil all the childrens’ wishes all over the world, but she could only have one wish.
She awoke early the next morning.
“Mum, what shall I wear?”
“It’s cold outside and you will have to wrap up nice and warm.”
“But Father Christmas lives in a grotto in the big shop in the city. He only has a red jacket. I have never seen him wear a long winter coat.”
Patsy’s mum had to dig into her psychological clever answer brain to answer Patsy’s questions. She was very inquisitive, although only six years old.
“Father Christmas does not need a Winter coat Patsy, he lives at the North Pole and is used to the cold.”
“I thought there were no humans at the North Pole.”
This conversation was becoming complicated even for Patsy’s mother.
“Of course there are no humans at the North Pole, but Father Christmas is something special. He lives in his special grotto under the ice most of the year, getting the Christmas presents ready for the children. No-one sees him. He only comes out of the ice in December where he collects his reindeers and mounts his sledge.”
“Aha, but how does he get the sledge into the big shop in the High Street. I have never seen a chimney there where he can arrive.?
“It’s all magic Patsy. One of Father Christmas’s secrets.”
Later in the afternoon it was time to go.
“Help me into my coat mum, can we go?”
and Patsy was out of the front door with her mother running after her.
“Slow down Patsy, Father Christmas is there until this evening when the shop shuts.”
Patsy’s mother took her hand and they walked along the road to the underground station which took them to the centre of the city. Patsy just loved this time of the year. Decorations were hanging across the road, sparkling gold and silver.
“Look mum, the Christmas gnomes have put stars across the street”. She was so excited and then she saw the entrance to the Christmas grotto where Santa was living. Patsy was just a little bit disappointed.
“Mum do we have to pay to see him?”
Another difficult question: “Of course dear, Santa has to buy food for his reindeer and he needs money for that.”
“But I thought we always put out a bowl of milk and leave some biscuits for the reindeer when they visit us at home.”
“Yes Patsy, but there is still two weeks until Christmas, and the reindeer need food before they visit.”
“What are all those other children doing here? I thought Santa was just going to see me today.”
“That wouldn’t be a good idea. Santa just does not have the time to spare seeing only one of the children. He has to make sure that no-one is left out. Otherwise it would not be fare.”
and Patsy gripped onto her mother’s hand and waited patiently until the other children had told Father Christmas their wishes. It was now Patsy’s turn.
“Mum, can I take my coat off, it is warm here, and I cannot sit comfortable” She gave her coat to her mother and walked up to Santa.
“Ho, ho, ho” said a booming male voice from somewhere behind a bushy white beard, its synthetIc wisps reflecting the light of the colourful lights surrounding his throne.
“Hello Santa, where am I supposed to sit?”
“On my knee of course, little girl.”
“But my mum said I shouldn’t get close to strange men.”
Father Christmas looked across to Patsy’s mother, who was holding the Winter coat and had a worried expression on her face.
“Patsy it is OK. Santa is not a stranger, all the children know him” said her mother.
“Ho, ho, ho, of course. Now come and sit comfortably.”
“Santa, you smell like my dad. Do you smoke as well, my dad smokes and smells sort of cigaretty.”
“You are inquisitive little girl. Now let us not worry about things like cigarettes. You are here to answer a very important question. So tell me what would you like me to bring you for Christmas.”
“Santa. I live with my mum and dad and sometimes it can be a bit boring at home on my own. So I thought it would be a good idea for me to have a baby brother. When he grows up we can play together.”
“Oh, well let’s see” answered Santa, throwing a long glance at Patsy’s mother, who was still holding the Winter coat in front of her. Not only Santa looked at her mother, but all the other parents waiting in the queue decided to see if it was just a wish, or perhaps reality. Patsy’s mother dropped the coat suddenly, more out of shock than anything else.
There was a silence for a few minutes, and Santa’s face seemed to turn red under his beard.
Then he spoke to Patsy. “How about a nice doll for Christmas. I am sure you would love a doll with beautiful golden locks.”
Patsy turned her head and looked into Santa’s eyes and said in a nice clear loud voice “but I want a baby brother”.
“Now that is a big present little girl. I am afraid you will have to wait. I am sure when you visit next Christmas, your mum will be holding a baby brother in her arms, instead of your Winter coat. “
He looked across at Patsy’s mother and gave a sly smile through his beard.
“So time to go Patsy” she said and dragged her daughter out of the Christmas grotto.
“What do you think mum, will I get my baby brother next Christmas.?”
Patsy and her mother travelled home in silence. Patsy looking forward to next Christmas visiting Sant in his grotto with a brother in a pram, and her mother with mixed feelings. Yes, she would have to have an intensive conversation with her husband in the evening. Decisions will have to be made.