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So this is Christmas

oh look a reindog
another reindog

I am not a religious person. I respect people who are, like any group of people there will be your radical and those that attend the special holiday services only and the majority who do the best they can following their beliefs. Yet Christmas is about the birth of Jesus Christ. Though it seems more and more people see Christmas as a non secular holiday. So what is Christmas for me?

For me it is about the seasons the Summer Solstice longest day here in Southern Hemisphere and the Winter Solstice Shortest day in the Northern Hemisphere. The life about me of nature. Christmas time here is normally hot and dry. Though we my first year living in Tasmania, I woke up after a night shift to see snow on Mt Wellington (sits behind Hobart) on boxing day.

The days are long during summer here, and we have a long twilight, which is glorious. The growth of plants, and young animals and birds are what this time is for me mostly.

As to Christmas music I grew up on the Christmas hymns that had very little relevance to me. There I was singing about snow and reindeer, wood fires. All the Christmas cards had snow and more irrelevant images sleighs and roasting nuts. Sitting down to a traditional British roast Christmas dinner with hot fruit pudding(at least my Nan and mum would give us cold custard). Sigh..I knew no different sitting in 35+ dC heat in far west NSW on Christmas day. My Nans wood stove pushing out more heat, since that is what the meal was cooked on. It was delicious, so much effort and exhaustion for my Nanna and mother. Yet so strange.

I really REALLY HATE what Christmas has come to mean. The rampant advertising and commercialism. That how much you spend equates to how much you love people.

St. Nicholas “Lipensky” as he appears on a Russian icon dated to 1294 from Lipnya Church of St. Nicholas in Novgorod – Source.

I find the idea of Santa Clause a bit revolting. We make little kids sit on a strange persons knee and whisper in the persons ear what he or she wants for Christmas. Yet the number of kids who scream and cry not wanting to is large, I still observe parents pushing their children towards this person who must look quite scary.

I think what a confused message are we telling these kids. On one hand; don’t talk to people you don’t know ect. then at Christmas getting them to sit on a strangers knee and ask him for presents. I sure as heck would not encourage any child I know to sit on a strange mans lap and whisper in his ear, asking him for presents. We lie about this creation, filling children’s heads with fairy floss, that you only have to ask Santa and you will get what you want.

Santa Clause is Coming to Town

Print of St Nicholas by Alexander Anderson commisioned by John Pintard (1810) – Source

“He’s making a list
And checking it twice;
Gonna find out Who’s naughty and nice
Santa Claus is coming to town

He sees you when you’re sleeping
He knows when you’re awake
He knows if you’ve been bad or good
So be good for goodness sake!”

The stuff of nightmares, and still we sing it!

Father Christmas as pictured in Josiah King’s The Examination and Tryal of Father Christmas (1686) – Source

A friends daughter would not tell them what she wanted for Christmas last year; as it was a secret between here and Santa. No surprise Santa did not giver her the gift she had asked for. This poor 6 year old then decided she must have been a very bad girl, and cried and cried. Her parents could not do anything. The child just did not want to do anything for the rest of the day she had believed!. She trusted this strange creation. Imagine then the parents having to explain why Santa did not get her the gift she asked for. Her parents had lied to her! Santa was not real.

I still recall when I found out that Santa was not real. It hurt a lot. I did not believe stuff my parents said for ages and would ask them to prove they were not lying.

Detail from Thomas Nast’s illustration “A Christmas Furlough” for the front page of a 1863 issue of Harper’s Weekly.

The pressure Christmas puts on people. The totally unreal expectations, that it will be a wonderful time. How awful if you do not have anyone to spend this special day with. I am sure that is true for some people. It is also true for many that being on their own is perfection. Or spending it with the people you really want to rather than those you seem to be obligated to by tradition and family expectations is delightful.

One thing I have worked on since my breakdown and being diagnosed with C PTSD is being stronger. I no longer have a sense of obligation to spend time with my family it never ended well. I only want to spend it with people I choose. I say no if I do not want to be about people and will explain it is my mental illness. My real preference is to be at home with just me and my dogs. Sometimes I will be with people I choose to be with and have a really happy, stuff your face and laugh time. Feeling a sense of peace and friendship. Other times the peace is being at home with just my dogs, the birds chattering in the garden and a cup of tea enjoying my space.

Mrs. Claus says goodbye to her husband as he sets off on his journey in this 1919 postcard

Possibly the first image of Mrs Claus saying goodbye to her husband, dates from 1919.

Two covers for the Saturday Evening Post by Norman Rockwell, the left one from 1920, the right from 1922 – Source

Often I would work Christmas morning shift to enable a parent to have that shift off to be at home with their kids. Most hospitals I worked at would do a 6 hour shift on Christmas Day, over lapping a little. I was happy to work 8 as I would get home about 3:30 enabling someone else with family to stay longer with them. It was always enjoyable working on Christmas Day.

Santa Claus Sugar Plums, showing a red(ish) suited Santa Claus on sleigh with reindeer – Source

It is interesting though I now find I don’t miss anything about the stress and pressure of this time. The disappointment felt when I had taken a long time and a lot of thought to find a gift that I really thought the recipient would like. Only to be perplexed at the response. Or worse hurt as happened one year where my gift to my father became the butt of jokes by the whole family for years. I was a student and had made him a T-Shirt he could wear, he had skin cancer and he had been having trouble finding light weight long sleeved casual shirts to wear in summer. I made him one. With a lot of love and thought, it hurt a lot.

Thomas Nast’s most famous drawing, “Merry Old Santa Claus”, from the January 1, 1881 edition of Harper’s Weekly.


In Australia last Christmas some research company found the amount of debt created over Christmas was $1863 for every credit card in Australia.

If you spent $2000 on your credit card for Christmas and only paid the minimum payment due it would take you 17years to pay it off and you would pay $5187.

Cover to the first edition of The Life and Adventures Of Santa Claus (1902) by L. Frank Baum – Source

In another report the use of buy now pay later, or pay day loan companies is irresistible at this time of year for many people on lower incomes. Australian Investment and Securities Commission as of June 2018 there is more than $900billion AUD in outstanding balances and majority of users are 18-34.

Of course not all this is from spending at Christmas, I imagine that it would be an easy way to get money to spend for that must have gift, decorations, food. I can not imagine the pressure and worry about how to pay it back. It is yet another reason I do not own a credit card. I have been caught up in the past when I worked and was younger of oh have I got them enough, and buying gifts for people I hardly knew. It was all to do with tradition and expectation and my wanting to fit in and please people.

I ask is this make believe Christmas world really worth this too YOU? It isn’t too me. So I will be spending my Christmas day with my dogs, Eating some things I may not have eaten for ages or not. I may watch TV, garden, go to the beach, sit on the deck and read with a glass of wine or not. I may visit my neighbours for a get together. Most likely. No stress no frustrations, no hassles take a plate share it bring your own drink. Simple easy. I can also change my mind and not feel guilty. I may just stay in bed and read or sleep all day! I am able to do what I want, with who I want. Saying NO thanks is a positive improvement another bonus of my break down.

Santa Claus as illustrated by Frank A. Nankivell in Puck, v. 52, no. 1344 (December 3 1902) – Source.
Norman Rockwell’s cover of Boys’ Life published December 1913 – Source.

When it comes to Christmas, we become collectively blind to the fact that the vast majority of people aren’t able to celebrate it in the way we’ve been told we should, creating feelings of inadequacy, failure and guilt.I I think of the single parents, the homeless, those on Newstart, and other low income earners. Who are struggling to pay for electricity and food without the pressure of Christmas. The incident of domestic violence increases over Christmas holidays. 2018 saw an increase of 20% to police and help lines over the Christmas New Year holidays. Those families where alcoholism, gambling mean there is no Christmas.

I know in my area there are houses that are rented out over winter and then let as Air B n Bs for the summer. The tenants are virtually homeless now, as rental property in the valley is very hard to get. Those mature woman living in there cars are the fastest growing statistic requiring Newstart. Happy Christmas to you too!

I know many organisations religious and non provide Christmas lunches, but not if you are in the rural areas and not close to town. In small towns people will be ashamed at times to look as if they are not able to have a good Christmas or for help or be seen at a organised lunch.

Japanese illustration featuring Santa, artist unknown – Source

I can only imagine how many people will go to bed on Christmas day night exhausted and concerned about what will happen when the credit card or loan payment is due. Alcohol fueled fights increase among families at Christmas. The utter fact we are pushed into feeling obliged by our parents, our churches, our families or even our own dreams of the perfect and wonderful Christmas, that we have seen on TV in the movies or magazines. When instead the reality is not so. That see their children are disappointed with their gifts. That the family argued.

Illustrated front cover from The Queenslander, December 25 1930 – Source

I am not adverse to the decorations and charm of the twinkling lights.

I am no longer caught up in the way Christmas is meant to be.

It is really OK to like being on Your own at Christmas. You do not have to apologise, be happy that like me You have found you Happy Christmas place.

A poster by the U.S. Food Administration. Educational Division, Advertising Section, ca. 1918 – Source

Financial pressure and stress, emotional pressure and stress, time pressure and stress, it seems to me that today the idea of Christmas is not what Advertising, shopping centres, cooking shows, there is NO PERFECT CHRISTMAS!! Well maybe if you are really rich and have someone else do everything for you.

A poster from the Office for Emergency Management, War Production Board, circa. 1942 – Source.
image portrayed by Haddon Sundblom for Santa’s first appearance in Cola advertising in 1931, drawing inspiration from Saint Nicholas’ image.

Back to Santa Clause images I have included in this post demonstrate the evolution of Santa Clause note that Cocoa Cola did not give Santa a red coat, the beard or even the rotund tummy. All were used prior to 1931 when Coca Cola used Haddon Sundblom for advertising and his image took of as the ‘traditional’ way Santa Clause looks. Santa and the Christmas we seem to celebrate in the Western world is all made up!

So this is Christmas John Lennon and Yoko Ono

So this is Christmas
And what have you done?
Another year over
And a new one just begun

And so this is Christmas
I hope you have fun
The near and the dear one
The old and the young

A very merry Christmas
And a happy New Year
Let’s hope it’s a good one
Without any fear

And so this is Christmas
For weak and for strong
For rich and the poor ones
The world is so wrong

And so happy Christmas
For black and for white
For yellow and red ones
Let’s stop all the fight

A very merry Christmas
And a happy New Year
Let’s hope it’s a good one
Without any fear

And so this is Christmas
And what have we done?
Another year over
And a new one just begun

Ans so this is Christmas
I hope you have fun
The near and the dear one
The old and the young

A very merry Christmas
And a happy New Year
Let’s hope it’s a good one
Without any fear

War is over over
If you want it
War is over

2 thoughts on “So this is Christmas

Add yours

  1. Ditto to all that you have said.

    One of the good things about having to take ‘early’ retirement and live on a frugal income is that now, I am in complete charge of my life and the way I think.

    It’s so liberating not to indulge in Christmas (or any other public holiday or occasion), presents that take hours to make or buy, eat food that does not agree with me and for which I suffer for days after, and the Joy in being comfortable with the person I am today and not feeling obligated to fill my life with negative people or things I neither like nor can afford.

    Oh, the joy in finally being Me (eccentric as I am).

    Having said that, I hope you enjoy this holiday season and your fruit/veggies grow to be luscious, tasty, ripe (at the right time you need them) and the sunsets a peaceful way to end each day 🙂


    1. Spot on Vicki it is liberating. I had someone say they felt sorry for me when I shared this a while ago. People were saying what their Christmas plans were, I said please don’t as I will be quite content and happy. I am only just beginning to really understand the me I have hidden for all my life. The more I do it the more I like the feeliin and me! I was always discontent with myself and I do believe that is because so many other people were discontent with me. It is interesting if I listen to my own voice, adult and child I know what I want. So I am content with discontent with discontent. I am a work in progress and enjoying the trip. I know I am going to be as joyful as you and I love eccentricity! May your day be exactly how you want it.

      Liked by 1 person

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