And just in case you're ever wondering, you might find this website useful: www.isitchristmas.com
Here’s the thing: it’s November 1st. We just had Halloween. I love Halloween – we do the pumpkins, we trick or treat, we go to church to hear how pumpkins are a symbol of removing the seeds of doubt so God’s love can shine bright. The vicar loves to invent games where kids do gross things – today he had them all sticking their hands in tripe. Love it.
I love Bonfire Night, too. Again, we go to the church (we’re not big Christians, but honestly, in Lytham, EVERYTHING happens at church) and the vicar barbecues sausages, the kids make guys and we burn them on a HUGE fire, then all the kids run around like savages. Fab.
There are so many brilliant things about this time of year, when you think about it. This year, we’ve been teaching Flea about conkers, and we’ve chatted about Remembrance Day and what that means. We’ve watched the trees turn, and taken long walks on the beach.
But I find it infuriating to see a Santa figure on the reception desk of the local swimming pool (yes, Poulton-le-Fylde YMCA, I am referring to you).
I think we all know that this is basically a phenomenon caused by retailers who want to extend the Christmas shopping frenzy and boost their profits as far as they’re able. That’s why the garden centre is already selling Christmas tree decorations, the shops are promoting Christmas toys, and we’ve got aisles of mince pies and Quality Street in Tesco.
By colluding in this, I think we’re robbing children of the chance to see the roots of our culture. There are real reasons and stories, be they pagan or Christian, behind winter festivals. And if Christmas starts in October or November, how can children possibly appreciate what it means?
I want Flea to understand what the advent is, why we put Holly and Mistletoe around the house, why we put up the tree and decorate it on Christmas Eve, and take it down on twelfth night. I want her to understand that Christmas is a specific festival with a specific meaning and traditions – not an excuse to spend two months making a shopping list.