Tuesday, 22 December 2009

Christmas Cheer!


The last few day’s I‘ve been rather busy and have not had the time to blog as much as I would have liked, and I’ve had a bit of writers block. However, today I went along to a local church just down the road from me, who cater and provide food and support to hard-up families struggling to make ends meet in Canning Town. The occasion was the annual Christmas dinner with presents included, and with special quest the bishop The Rt Rev Thomas McMahon, Bishop of Brentwood; he oversees a large and varied diocese stretching from East London to the North Sea.

The Diocese comprises the Administrative County of Essex, the unitary authorities of Southend-on-Sea and Thurrock, and the London Boroughs of Barking & Dagenham, Havering, Newham, Redbridge and Waltham Forest.

And of course Father Christmas made an appearance, I was trying to workout; just how old Santa, standing next to the elegant nativity display, handing out the wrapped parcels to all, just how this invented character fitted in to the doctrine and school of thought served and up here by the Catholic  Church, made me wonder!

Father Christmas is the name used in many English speaking countries for a symbolic figure associated with Christmas. A similar figure with the same name (in other languages) exists in several other countries, including France (Père Noël) Spain (Papá Noel), Malta (il-Krismis Fader), Brazil (Papai Noel), Portugal (Pai Natal), Italy (Babbo Natale) and Romania (Moş Crăciun). In past centuries, the English Father Christmas was also known as Old Father Christmas, Sir Christmas, and Lord Christmas.


Father Christmas neither typified the spirit of good cheer at Christmas, or was he a gift bringer, nor particularly associated with children. The pre-modern representations of the gift-giver merged with the British character Father Christmas, to create the character known to Americans as Santa Claus. And it was the American Company Coca-Cola and its artist Haddon Sundblom who in the 1930s introduced the figure that we all imagine is the representation of Father Christmas (Santa Claus) that we all know today. Father Christmas modern creation evolved also from the following poem.


He was dressed all in fur from his head to his foot,
And his clothes were all tarnished with ashes and soot;
A bundle of toys he had flung on his back,
And he looked like a peddler just opening his sack.
His eyes how they twinkled! his dimples how merry!
His cheeks were like roses, his nose like a cherry;
His droll little mouth was drawn up like a bow,
And the beard on his chin was as white as the snow.
The stump of a pipe he held tight in his teeth,
And the smoke it encircled his head like a wreath.
He had a broad face, and a little round belly
That shook when he laughed like a bowl full of jelly.
He was chubby and plump,--a right jolly old elf--
And I laughed when I saw him, in spite of myself.

Written by Clement C. Moore in 1822 as a Christmas present to his children.


I think that’s quite a lovely poem really and composed for the poet’s children; who he clearly loved. I can imagine that so many will say, what harm dose old Santa do then, well that’s a really good question I suppose, with no easy answer, for who would shatter the magic held by millions of children, nay trillions of innocents and young, but add to that the trillions of children thought-out the world whom Father Christmas is nothing more than a fictional character. We forget about them children or put them out of our minds, when we sit around the Christmas tree or tuck into our festive food. Is it that Father Christmas is nothing more than a sales gimmick? After all Coca-cola successfully used him to sell their drinks and they gave him his distinctive red outfit, if you like typecast him in such away that it’s stuck like glue the colour of its branded product.



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