Last night my wife took me on a date to listen to the wise words of my favourite author Jeanette Winterson.
The event was at Shakespeare and company. A place steeped in literary history, yet so intimate and homely.
A business that has seen the monumental publishing of James Joyce’s Ulysses by Sylvia Beach. To the healing of Jeanette’s broken heart and chest infection by Sylvia Whitman and her father George, as Jeanette so generously shared.
She spoke of the history of the season, and it’s evolution into what we see today. From it’s pagan origins as a winter solstice festival of fecundity celebrating the coming of the sun, to the rebranding of Santa from green to red by a certain soft-drink company. Not to mention all those jaunty Christmas songs like ‘White Chritmas’ written predominantly by Jews.
My wife and I walked home through the Paris streets filled with dazzling Christmas lights with the smell of mulled wine and it’s rosy cheeked drinkers celebrating what has popularly evolved into the consumerist festival of landfill with which we are all to familiar. My wife made the observation that it’s the mongrel of all festivals borrowing bits and bobs from all cultures and times.
For us Jeanette’s take home message was that we can make the holiday what ever we want.
For us it was to not to get bogged down in the trappings of the holiday, but the not always so simple gift of bravely giving unconditional love.
I’m not the preachy type. You celebrate the holiday in anyway you see fit, sacrifice a goat, buy a kid a toy gun, eat a large bird. A lot of my friends and family will be donating here. https://www.icrc.org/en/donate/syria-crisis-appeal