Nollaig Shona Duit

As we take time to reflect and plan ahead on this Winter Solstice, we wish you a happy Christmas and new year.

As the character of Dickens’ Mr. Chadband quoted ‘My friends, Peace be on this house! On the master thereof, on the mistress thereof, on the young maidens, and on the young men! My friends, why do I wish for peace? What is peace? Is it war? No. Is it strife? No. Is it lovely, and gentle, and beautiful, and pleasant, and serene, and joyful? O yes! Therefore, my friends, I wish for peace, upon you and upon yours.’

Of course the traditions and symbols of Christmas were in full swing in Dickensian times, A Christmas Carol being one of the most popular and enduring Christmas novels by Charles Dickens depicting those familiar scenes of winter festivities and ceremonies. And alot of our modern day Christmas traditions originate in Celtic winter solstice traditions. Evergreen boughs, holly, ivy and mistletoe were used as a symbol of spring and new life and this morphed over time to the Christmas trees and wreaths which now appear in towns and homes around the world, with the Christmas tree originating from regions with abundant evergreen forests especially those in northern Europe. Decorating the evergreen boughs with edibles such as fruits and nuts were offerings to the sun god, celebrating the harvest and hope for new beginnings with the welcome return of daylight hours. And our decorating habits have changed with our inventions and industrialisation. Pre 1880‘s trees were decorated with candles and with the advent of electricity, fairy lights, tinsel and baubles were the popular choice of decoration. And with that said it‘s time to decorate the Associate Christmas tree and wish you all a happy Christmas!

Reference: Charles Dickens, Bleak House. First published 1853