Tag Archives: Christmas

It’s a question of… believing in something

This morning I watched a woman on TV help people find their “inner elf” (while giving them a massage…). Despite my love of all things mythical and my fondness of elves, I didn’t quite buy her theory about us all having one by our side. I mean, wouldn’t the elf’s presence interfere with that of the guardian angel also supposed to be hanging around?

Knowing what to believe in is something that’s getting harder as I grow older. Take Christmas for example. When I was a little girl, it was pretty simple: there was the story about baby Jesus and the one about Father Christmas. Then you get a little older and understand the real meaning of virgin (as in Mary) and things get a little confused. From that moment on, everything goes downhill. You read that Jesus was in fact not even born in December and that the real “Father Christmas” was a Turkish saint and didn’t wear the red suit trimmed with fur and a belt till he appeared in some Coca-Cola advertisement.

I willingly admit that Christmas for me today is not a question of the Christ’s birth. (If you think about it, a Christmas tree, Christmas food and heaps of presents have nothing to do with it either). I do however celebrate this time of the year with gusto, sing carols about the “little lord  Jesus” and sometimes, even go to church on Christmas Eve.  Why? Because it’s tradition, because it’s cosy and because it  brings together the family. And I believe in that. I love the rituals surrounding Christmas; I like the smell and the taste of it. And I don’t mind telling my son about Jesus or Father Christmas, because they’re great stories and well, without them, we wouldn’t be able to celebrate Christmas the way we do. It also makes the “season of giving” spirit easier to explain.

Of course, I also try to give him a little “outside” knowledge and point out that – as he’s already learning in school – many Christian celebrations are closely bound to old beliefs. He knows how Christmas is related to the winter solstice and Viking Yule, and of course, having friends with other beliefs, he’s aware that our Christmas is just one of the possibilities.

Many erudite men and women have established that it’s important for humans to believe in something. And while the best thing is probably to believe in oneself, there’s no harm in getting a little help from somewhere or someone else. Be it a God or a Santa, an angel or an elf – or a whole bunch of them. As long as the helpers stay helpers and don’t become judges or controllers…

I for one will be setting out a bowl of porridge tomorrow for the Christmas elf. Just in case. So he’ll be nice to me the rest of the year…


Filed under Everything counts

It’s a question of… making Christmas simple

In the stack of magazines collecting dust next to my bed there are many old Christmas issues. Every year at this time I go through them, reading for the hundredth time about how to make the perfect Christmas dinner, diet in time to fit into my party dress, decorate my tree and make my own Christmas cards. None of which I ever really have the intention of doing, but I’m under the impression that reading about it somehow awakens my “season spirit”.

The main mission of these magazines seems to be “to  keep Christmas simple”. My 2005 issue of Prima has no  less than “430 ways to make Christmas simple” written  on the front page. The year after, 33 more ways  apparently showed up. Oh yes, the 2006 issue of  Prima offers “463 ways to make Christmas simple” on  the remarkably similar cover.

To think that there are more than 400 things to do in  order to make Christmas simple seems awfully complicated. As for the omnipresent advice about how important it is to plan ahead, well, if I had done that, I would probably be thinking about Easter right now instead of reading about the “1001 tricks, tips & clever ideas” for Christmas…

It’s not that I don’t want to plan ahead. Every year, a few days before Christmas when I’m all stressed out about the things I still haven’t done (like presents…), I promise myself that next year I’ll do better (I could hardly do worse). It never happens, because as my son said today (about something entirely different): “We’re always eaten by time”.

And in the end, it doesn’t matter. Christmas has never been a failure because I didn’t make my own pudding or because I wrapped my presents in newspaper, 10 minutes before putting them under the tree. As for the dinner, well I have to admit, we spend Christmas with my parents so no worries there; my mother’s the best cook in the world.

The best way to make your Christmas simpler is probably to stop comparing it to the ones pictured in the December magazines. Although even they seem to show a sense of humour nowadays. Guess what Prima’s front page advice for 2009 is? “Relax, it’s Christmas”. Now that’s funny.




Filed under Life in general

It’s a question of… getting a Zhu Zhu hamster

I’m pretty sure that there have always been must-have-for-Christmas toys around. Right now, I can’t remember exactly what it was when I was a child. Most likely some TV-advertised device that looked fun on screen but turned out disappointing in real life. Like the Barbie-doll that didn’t really dance by itself or the game that only had a drawing of an explosion (unlike the real “bang” seen on television).

From what I can understand this season’s hottest toy is a robotic hamster from Zhu Zhu pets. I myself have always been a guinea-pig person, but I have no difficulties seeing the appeal of a Patches, Chunk, PipSqueak, Mr Squiggles or Num Nums. These hamsters are cute. They make sweet sounds, run around and play, but don’t need to be fed or have their cages cleaned (they don’t have one), and they don’t bite if you wake them up (probably because they don’t sleep). Also, you can (did you even doubt it?!) get a whole lot of cool accessories. Because every hamster needs a skateboard and garage…

The best thing about the Zhu Zhu hamster however is its price: under ten US dollars (or English pounds or euros – currency isn’t what it once was). So even though my son has not yet been hypnotized by a Zhu Zhu hamster on TV (apparently they’ll only go on sale in France in 2010), I’ve been surfing around the web to find one for him (and admittedly also for myself… Even fake hamsters need playmates).

Its turns out, not surprisingly, that all toy retailers in the US as in the UK are out of stock. And Amazon and eBay resellers have them at over six times the original price. So he/we won’t be getting a fake hamster for Christmas. And no, not a real one either. My mother won’t let us…


Filed under Sounds of the universe