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Christmas means ...

Updated: Dec 28, 2021

Christmas means … not what I always thought it meant. Though, given I grew up in Britain, set in the furthest reaches of northern Europe, it was and is, seasonally cold and icy – which is the preferred option for Santa Claus and his reindeer, Rudolf, with his shiny nose and oodles of gifts slipping off his overloaded sleigh.

But they’d better not park in Surry Hills because there's no snow and they’ll be sure to get a parking infringement notice. No Christmas cheer around here.

Furthermore, if Santa were to venture into Australia in what is turning out to be a rain-drenched summer, would he even know this was Advent* – with all the traditional religious symbolism, midnight masses, fir trees and presents – which still evokes in me a sense of wonder?

What I’m driving at is my observation that Christmas is no longer comfortably referred to by that name. Recently, it was disconcerting for me to hear a quite audible catch in a friend’s throat when he stopped himself from saying the words, ‘Happy Christmas’ and said, ‘Season’s Greetings’ instead. In other words, a reference to a seasonal festival.

Let’s make Christmas meaningful for Santa, Rudolf and co. Put the Christmas back into Christmas, I say. Don’t you agree – presents, pudding and all?

Wil Roach

* Advent: the period of preparation for the celebration of the birth of Jesus Christ at Christmas


text Wil Roach;

photos Tasha Burrell & Ferdinando Manzo.


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