Category Archives: Christmas

The meaning of Christmas


‘The fussy eater’ is a column in the Observer written by Ariel S. Leve, an American journalist. Sunday, 12 December, I read her article ‘I can’t eat mince pies, and you smother everything in brandy. What is it with the British Christmas?’ with undisguised pleasure. I think she has a right to share her experiences, as her idea of Christmas food is different from the indigenous British people. So, my idea of celebrating Christmas is contradictory too, and I don’t just mean cuisine.

I look around me and what do I see? At my College there is a little blue house with a snowman inside; at the Bonaccord Centre there are a few ‘flowers’ with a snowman and other fairytale characters. Christmas time also means new promotional menus at restaurants, with special dishes and Christmas crackers with crowns, which I find very funny and I ask myself, ‘Is that because of the Three Wise Men or does everyone feel like a king tonight?’ A few days ago at one of the restaurants, I saw a kitchen porter wearing the same crown as the customers. I guess he was jealous of the customers’ one.

Christmas also means shopping. I can’t help laughing when people constantly ask me ’Did you do your Christmas shopping?’ Obviously, I always answer ‘No’, because I don’t get their big concern about the shopping. I don’t have to overeat during Christmas because eating too much doesn’t mean celebrating the event better. And I always know what to buy for my friends and family. By the way, I heard from one of my lecturers the amusing fact that on December 24th shops are mainly occupied by men.

Last Sunday, The Observer served its readers portions of Christmas meals like mincemeat, cheesecake, prune brownies, apple galette, walnut praline ice cream and many other posh-sounding dishes. So, celebrating this even is also about testing new recipes and drinking; few days ago I had to escape to the other side of the Union Street to avoid being trodden underfoot by a flock of drunk girls.

Christmas means also singing Christmas carols at the beginning of December without considering the Advent has only just started. There could be many other things on this list, for example complaining about the Royal Mail’s delays.

In Aberdeen Christmas time means also a new bus time table. I mean, now it’s clear and no one has to calculate and answer the question, ‘What time will the bus come if it should come every 12 minutes after each hour after 9.40?’

In only a few days, it will be Christmas; for many of us it will be just a time of fun, but maybe sometimes it is worth to bringing the eating and drinking to stop and feel the real meaning of Christmas.

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A great idea for Christmas present – ‘Words for you’


Every year before Christmas we rush to buy presents for our friends and family, and retailers take advantage of our inexperience, sensibility and other attributes of our personalities. That is why their slogans are very specific and basically aimed at catching customers with their sweet baits.

Well, instead of buying presents that might cost a bomb, we should listen to the voices of our hearts. I know, it sounds too sweet and so sentimental, but isn’t the sensibility a part of our ‘ego’? I mean, our Christmas presents should be from the heart.

Last year one of my lecturers recommended a CD of poems read by actors to students and other people involved in the so called ‘Online Bookclub’ – the CD is called ‘Words for you’. The profit from the CD was going to the charity ‘I CAN’, which supports children up to the age of 16 with difficulties in communication. Later I bought this CD quite accidentally in HMV (not online as I was planning). Well, it was a production from 2009, but real admirers of poetry and good classical music wouldn’t despise it. Also, I thought that the CD would be an excellent gift for every occasion, not only for Christmas.

The CD consists of 27 poems read by actors like: Miriam Margolyes, Samantha Morton, Ben Whishaw, Anthony Head and many others. All of the poems are accompanied by charming masterpieces of classical music. Some of the voices are touching enough even without the music in the background. I would especially recommend ‘Friendship’ by Elizabeth Jennings with Beethoven’s beautiful Piano Concerto no 5. Track no 7 – ‘On the balcony’ by D.H Lawrence with the accompaniment of Grieg’s ‘Last Spring’ is very moving, full of emotions blended with the deep voice of Anthony Head. Other pieces like ‘He wishes for the cloths of heaven’, by W.B. Yeats and ’Sonnet 116’ by Shakespeare,’ She walks in beauty’ by Lord Byron, accompanied by Grieg’s ‘Peer Gynt suite No.2 or ‘Remember’ by Christina Rossetti, accompanied by Sor’s ‘Allegretto’, are worth listening to. To be honest, I would not expect anything more beautiful then track no 23, ’Silver’ by Walter de la Mare, accompanied by the golden piece by Chopin – Nocturne cis –moll.

‘Words for you’ would be a perfect gift for those who are susceptible to the beauty of music, and for those with sensitive ears.

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The insanity of Christmas shopping…and slogans


Normally the Christmas shopping season begins in November, or at least sometime after Halloween. However, some more far-sighted people start buying their Christmas gifts in September. Believe me, it happens and it is not just trumped up. No wonder they do that, insanity in shops and standing in line can grind down the most patient person. But that is not what I wanted to talk about. Namely, I found this year’s Christmas catch-phrases in shop-windows very interesting.

I spent yesterday morning looking at slogans, the aim of which was to promote shops. Some of them were very smart, others were less brilliant. As I realised, Christmas slogans were encouraging people not only to buy a present but also to give something as a gift to people we care about:’ Give the joy of a good read’ or ‘Give’.  ‘Show you care, give the perfect gift ‘- I found this quite annoying because how does someone designing the slogan jump to the conclusion that gifts have to be perfect? I mean, what is a definition of a perfect gift? Is it an expensive one? Is it bright and very comfy? Is it cheap but interesting? No, no. First of all gifts need to give us joy and raise a smile on the faces of people we give them to.

Another thing I’ve noticed was that all these windows’ epithets were somehow smart, as they were using implied meanings which were invisible to Joe Soap. Generally they were aimed at a particular audience. So, ‘Sales. New lines added’, was supposed to attract ladies hugely interested in fashion, ‘20% off coconut gifts’  was designed for admirers of cosmetics and beauty products, ’The nation’s favourite roll for only 59 p’ was aimed at gourmands and ‘ Party with Lipsy this Christmas’ was addressed to ladies crazy about parties.

Other promotional phrases were quite typical: ’Everyone’s a winner’, ‘Have a free Christmas’, ‘Great value’. ‘Too good to miss’ was quite persuasive but I did not take advantage of the offer.’ Duty free prices’ sounded a bit awkward as what should I care about any duty as I wasn’t at an airport waiting for a flight. Anyway, all these slogans and decorations a la’ Star of Bethlehem’ in bold, bright colours did not charm me enough as there was something missing. When I was looking at the shelf with ‘Christmas essentials’ I realised that outside was snowing and I asked myself: ‘Is this essential for Christmas too?’ Of course, it was. Let it snow, let it snow, let it snow!

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