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Saturday, December 12, 2015

A few little Christmas snippets.

Brought to you by - The English Rose.

Hello fellow Roses. 

I don’t have an up-coming release to tell you about, I’m sorry, but I have seen some really good ones coming up, lots more to add to the TBR list. You ladies are such prolific writers! I really need to get my finger out. As this is the season of good cheer, I thought I would just share my very personal views of this time of year with you.

Here in UK, people have been filling their windows with Christmas decorations since the beginning of November. There is a craft channel on tv which even has a Christmas in July spot, and each week after that they are selling Christmas items for crafters!
I sometimes wonder just exactly why people think they are decorating their houses and shops? And why on earth over such a long period? I saw something last week which really tickled me, it was a picture of a grumpy looking Santa and the caption was ‘There are twelve days of Christmas and none of them are in November.” Hear, hear!

Why do people decorate for so long before the 12 days? It’s a puzzle to me. My own decorations go up on Christmas Eve, and come down before twelfth night. No, I’m not a Scrooge, I actually started doing that when my daughter was tiny, for no other reason than that I wanted her to recognize the magic of the moment, so despite everywhere else being decked out, I put our decorations up whilst she was asleep on Christmas Eve, so that when she woke up in the morning the place was filled with warmth, color, glitter, balloons and good food.  
We had a large open fire then, so we would get up early and light it, and place a huge ‘Yule Log’ on it, which we tried to keep burning for as many days as we could, (I don’t think we ever managed a full 12 days though.) The look on her little face those first few years was totally priceless. I can never forget it. Of course as she grew older and realized what was happening she started to decorate her own room with my spare decorations a long time before Christmas Eve, but I kept to my own personal tradition. And still do, for the grandchildren, except I don’t have an open fire any more, so the poor old Yule log has had to give way to a few candles and a gas fire!

When I think about it, my way of doing it is closer to the original ’12 days of Christmas’ than most people’s, in reality within the Western Church, the 12 days actually begin on December 25th and end on January 5th, the beginning of Epiphany (when the Magi brought the gifts to the baby, if that is your belief.)

Our tradition of giving gifts on Christmas Day actually seems to come from a festival of Pagan days named Saturnalia where people gave gifts in honor of the ones who had died during that year. They would exchange ‘lucky fruits’ and have a big feast, as we still do today.
Holly and mistletoe were Pagan and Druid symbols of fertility and the colorful lights we decorate everything with are descended from the Pagan ritual of lighting fires and candles to chase away the darkness of winter and bring back the sun.
The star on top of the tree is not a Star of David, in fact it is two triangles, which represent the perfect union between male and female into one entity. The upturned triangle represents the male, whilst the downturned one is the female. We place a fairy or angel on our trees because, traditionally, fairies and angels are supposed to grant wishes.

Santa Claus/Father Christmas/Kris Kringle (and many other aliases) is a very old tradition indeed, it can be actually dated right back to a monk who was born into a noble family in Turkey, around 280 AD. He gave away all his vast inherited wealth and travelled the country helping the sick and poor. In one town he is supposed to have saved three sisters from being sold into slavery by their father, by giving them all a good dowry so they could be married. He later became known as the protector of children and sailors. He died on December 6th which was then considered a very lucky day to get married.

Now here’s a shock, I have only just found out that Rudolf the red nosed reindeer was actually born in 1939 in America! A copywriter named Robert L May, who worked for the Montgomery Ward department store wrote the story to try and drive custom to the store, in that year, he sold almost two and a half million copies of his book and since then, it has been translated into twenty-five languages (we can only wish on our fairies for figures like that, eh ladies?)

                                  Here's a beautiful Christmas Rose for all you lovely Roses.

Well, I don’t want to keep you all from your tree decorating and mince pie eating, so I’ll go now, wishing you all a peaceful, healthy and happy holiday time, whatever your persuasion, and a very good New Year.  Catch you all on the other side!


  1. Now this is a fascinating post for me. I love history and traditions. Thank you for sharing yours. Now, maybe I'll not be such a Grinch. (I'd say Scrooge, but I'm not stingy...grin) Doris

    1. Hello Doris! You're early! Thanks for coming by, and have a happy holiday!

  2. It's always so interesting for me to read traditions from other cultures. Maybe it's just me, but Christmas in the United Kingdom just seems so romantic. I loved your post. I want to call you Jilly-Bean so badly. Jelly Beans are one of my top favorite candies. LOL But I won't because people don't generally like people messing around with their names.
    Have a very Merry Christmas!

  3. Oh Sarah! my best buddy calls me Jilly-Bean!!! I don't mind, I'll answer to (almost) anything! Thanks for visiting and commenting. Have a happy holiday. Be well.

  4. Jill, "back in the day" here in the states, even when I was growing up in the late 50's-60's, most people didn't decorate until just a few days before Christmas. I can remember us putting up our tree maybe 3 or 4 days before Christmas some years. Of course, back then, we always had a "real" tree--not artificial--and kept it in a wet bucket of sand to keep it fresh longer. But we took it down always by 2-3 days after Christmas. Me? I have an artificial tree and I love Christmas so much I started my tradition of decorating the day after Thanksgiving. I don't do it now, because the kids are grown and gone, but I still put it up a couple of weeks before Christmas. I just love to look at it. Great post!

  5. Hi Cheryl, thanks for coming, and commenting. I don't think I would decorate now as I am on my own, but my two grandchildren (11 and 14) live nearby and my daughter always goes to town on the decorating, so I have to do some! I try to get away with the bare minimum. My tree is actually a large pot of ivy trained into a tall 'tree' shape about three feet high, and hung with lights and small decorations. Does this make me a Scrooge? I've just got very disillusioned with the whole thing lately. But I'll do it just for the joy on the kid's faces when they open their presents. Have a great holiday. Be well.

  6. Jill,

    What a nice explanation of your Christmas traditions. My traditions from childhood were/are more similar to yours than not. I decorate a tree sometime in December and take it down Christmas Day evening. My three children are in their mid and late 30s, so I haven't had little ones in the house for a good long time, which means each year, I've decorated a little less. I only put a tree up now to entertain my cats and so my grandchildren don't think I'm a complete Humbug. :-)

    Thanks for sharing.

  7. Hi Kaye, Nice to see you here. Sounds like we share similar views on the festive season then! The decorations are just for the young 'uns these days, I don't have cats to entertain, but the dogs have fun sniffing out anything edible! Thanks for commenting. Be well.

  8. I enjoyed reading your post and about your Christmas traditions. When I was a child we never put our tree up until a few days before Christmas. It was usually a cedar that my father would cut and bring to the house. How I miss that smell. For years I had a large live tree, but as my one child grew up, I went to the artificial trees. I had a big one though, pre-lighted with colored lights to which I always added more. As I grew older, my trees grew smaller. Now that I'm alone, I have a four foot one on a table at my window. My, daughter, her husband and my two grand-children always come for Christmas night dinner, so I can't comprehend not wanting to have one. It's not the fact that I'm alone that keeps my tree small now, it's because I have downsized to a condo with small living room and more important arthritis has shown up in areas that restrict my movements. But even that doesn't keep me from loving the season and wanting to stretch it out as long as I can.

  9. Hi Agnes, and thanks for coming and commenting. I know what you mean about the smell of the real trees, its wonderful, I wish it could be bottled so we could spray it around at Christmas! I also know what you mean about 'downsizing' your tree, that's exactly what I've done! It takes less effort to decorate a smaller one doesn't it. Thanks again for your comments. Be well.