DCSIMG

Comment: The magic – and myth – of Christmas past

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O’NO. Whatever’s happened to the magic of Christmas past – when wide eyed tiny tots spent hours lovingly crafting handwritten letters to Santa Claus, hoping for their wishes to be fulfilled? But did my eyes deceive me, has the ageing process kicked in early, is there really an invitation in a local supermarket for kids to now ‘text’ their wish lists?

And, to meet emission controls on flatulent reindeer, I suppose Santa’s banned from riding his sleigh, and is now banged up in the geriatric ward of some retirement home for faded celebs, emailing CAD programs to 3D printers installed in every kid’s bedroom, courtesy of an EU grant.

As for poor Rudolph, well the fate of him and his mates doesn’t bear thinking about.

Probably hived off to a local safari park, or served up as burgers in some fast food joint in Lapland. But enough about the material side of Yuletide and so to its true meaning, the season of goodwill to all men. Regarding which the greatest contradiction is undoubtedly the Christmas Truce of 1914 during the First World War when, as a break from killing each other the opposing armies downed tools for a few hours and fraternised in No Man’s Land.

One of the soldiers who was there was the grandson of MrsT Holdom, of Bletchley, and of the experience he wrote: “We were in the trenches for Christmas, and had the funniest Christmas I have ever had.

“On Christmas Eve we had orders not to fire until 12 o’clock midnight Christmas Day unless the Germans did, so we shouted across to the Germans that we would not fire unless they did, and they shouted back the same. So the rest of the evening we spent in singing carols, hymns, National Anthems etc. The Germans lighted fires on top of their trenches and sang and danced around them. On Christmas Day they shouted across and wished us a Happy Christmas and, of course, we did the same, and we both got out of our trenches and walked along the top.

“During the morning we went half way across to the German trenches and beckoned to them to come over to us, which, after a little hesitation, they did. When they arrived we shook hands and exchanged cigarettes, cigars, buttons, money and anything we could get hold of. I got four kinds of cigarettes, two cigars, a button, and I also got two of them to write their names and addresses in my pocket book. One of the two had the Iron Cross, which he showed me. We were surprised to find how many of them could speak English.

“One of them said he knew Clapham Junction well, and another said he used to take the No 87 bus home to Kilburn every night. We found them to be quite a gentlemanly lot of chaps.

“Before we left we said we would not fire until they did.

“They said the same. But early Boxing Day morning we were relieved and are now in the outskirts of a town in reserve and are going into the trenches again on Friday.

“We are going into different trenches this time and I hope they are not so muddy as the ones before.” Unbelievable.

But perhaps not surprising, for as with most wars it seems the instigation is usually down to a handful of nutters, who through coercion, mass hysteria and the herd instinct manipulate the majority into becoming their cannon fodder – when at base level all the majority wants is to be left in peace to look after their families.

So perhaps there is something to be said for Christmas in a high tech age. For at least via social media people across the globe can now express sanity and goodwill to each other in their own voices, and not just a State imposed voice.

Until, of course, the State gains control of the social media.

 

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