From Byter Elena
I think it has a lot to do with age. However, other factors do come into it. Yes, online shopping also I remember Christmas decorations did not start until around 15 December, now all retailers seem to start celebrating Christmas mid November. That is much too early, by the time Christmas comes it is no longer magical.
Politcal correctness has gone way overboard, I was never a fan myself, much prefered direct approach to issues, but London not being able to put up signs saying Merry Christmas using only Happy Holidays to me is ridiculous. Recently I had to go to Iran for work, I had to abide by their rules.
Living in Italy the religous issue is still strong and although I love the smell of the "real" tree I understand and accept the fake ones.
I say celebrate Christmas at the right time and sod the gits who are offended by Christmas cheer.
From Byter Kara:
Hi Otto –
Here in NZ, my part of it anyway (about 30 mins from Auckland city) I don't see any decline in 'Christmasness' particularly pertaining to the family Christmas Tree. Plenty of people seem to make enough selling real trees to appear each year and often I see locally that they have sold out. I rarely venture in to Auckland central but in the suburbs there are always several trees in shop windows and a Hospice tree can be found in many a supermarket foyer or other suitable location - this is a large tree on which, for any sized donation, a bauble can be hung with a label attached to commemorate a loved one. The baubles are a good size and I noticed yesterday that a second tree was in place already at one supermarket as the first was full!
Nativity scenes are still used in some shop windows.
I do hate the over the top advertising for items such as diamond rings and appliances, much preferring the small personal gifts of possibly every day items that you know someone will use, or just baking, attractively wrapped and presented. In our extended family this is common.
My sons were 3 and 4 when their Dad died 11 years ago and as he was a Dutchman we celebrate St Nicholas Day with small gifts and Dutch Christmas specialties when I can get them. I do like to do a 'proper' Christmas dinner which for me is Turkey etc. - definitely not a barbecue or picnic. We are on a tight budget but still enjoy Christmas without breaking the bank. We have an annual soccer or cricket match amongst three families which include six cousins (all boys aged from 10 to 19) depending on the venue we have often had total strangers join in! On these days (usually a week or so before Christmas) we all contribute to the food which is shared casually rather than a formal sit down. The day itself is usually just ourselves when we will set our table specially with candles, wine glasses (sparkling grape juice!) and our real Christmas dinner.
Christmas to me is a sharing family time with the emphasis on simplicity and fun. Raised a catholic the religious aspect of it all has no meaning for me - I can't stand the hypocrisy. My boys know the most familiar bible 'stories' which I think they should simply as general knowledge. It is up to them what they choose to believe in. I don't thank any god for anything. My family are my creed and I have faith and trust only in those I love.
May your Christmas be just what you want it to be.