Tuesday, 18 December 2018

For tradition's sake

Christmas is an elaborate production. The sheer brilliance of it is that everyone collaborates in one way or another - whether that's buying presents, sending cards, or perpetuating the magic of Santa. The festival is one massive, co-ordinated effort across the nation and most of us opt in without even questioning it. The results are spectacular: from the gorgeous lights illuminating our town centres to crazy knitted jumpers, Secret Santa, fairs, parties and the decorated trees adorning our homes.

Christmas wreath hanging on a white front door
My first ever Christmas wreath!
As each year passes, I get more practised at keeping my end up. I now have processes in place (start the cards early; book online shopping slots in November) to make life easier. I know what's expected and I deliver. It helps that it's the same show every year because - let's be honest - I'm not much of an innovator. I follow the time-honoured plan and streamline efficiencies where I can.

But isn't that the point of Christmas? It's all the traditions we love - advent calendars, roast turkey, log fires and everything that harks back to our own childhoods... I was at my daughter's carol concert last week lapping up the traditional carols, but feeling quite discombobulated when the choir sang In the Bleak Midwinter to a tune I didn't recognise. What I wanted was for the music to teleport me back to my own schooldays and the fizzing sense of excitement I felt on the brink of the Christmas holidays. Not some fancy choral piece, thanks very much.

But then it struck me. The carol service was being conducted by a woman, my daughter's school chaplain. When I was at school, all our chaplains were men. It was only as I was leaving in 1992 that I discovered my English teacher - a Miss Wood - was seeking to be ordained. We were on the cusp of change and she must have been among the first wave of female priests to enter the Church of England.

So in this era of #MeToo, amid renewed efforts to bust gender disparities across the board, I try to remember that traditions are comforting, but innovation also has its place. And, in that spirit, I'll try to conjure up something new for Christmas this year. Perhaps I'll ditch the turkey in favour of beans on toast... Let's see how that goes down.


Merry Christmas everyone! 🎄 And, thank you so much for reading my blog. Your support means so much. See you in 2019! 🥂