Sunday, 27 December 2009

An Apple and an Orange...


In a desperate attempt to get me to partake in some Christmas spirit, my daughter Michaela bought me a ticket to see the classic Frank Capra film It's a Wonderful Life, shown in Edinburgh's The Filmhouse on Christmas Eve. My loathing for what Christmas has become - a commercial festival lasting a minimum of twelve weeks rather than twelve days - is apparent in the pages of this blog. However, It's a Wonderful Life harks back to a time when Christmas brought out the best in people rather than the opposite. It remains one of my favourite films and I still smile when, towards the end of the film, I hear the despairing James Stewart snap 'Why did we have so many kids?!'

I spent Christmas Day with my daughters, grandchildren and my mother and, like most other families that day, spent the afternoon eating too much, drinking too much and thanking family members telling them they shouldn't have spent so much money this year. Pretty much the same as every other year. With the recession biting hard and thousands of people facing the very real risk of unemployment, I do despair when I see people spending money they evidently haven't got. When the credit card bills drop through the letter boxes of thousands of homes a few weeks from now the spirit of Christmas will be a distant memory, replaced by the high anxiety of having to pay for it.

My grandchildren, Jack and Hannah, were thrilled with their presents although, as ever, they found it difficult to know what to play with first. Their low attention threshold meant they were eager to move on to something else - simply because it was there. My mother, bless her, still speaks of being a child in the Second World War when she and her sisters received an apple and an orange. Seventy years on, getting an Apple and an Orange means you're more likely to get a computer and a mobile phone...

Christmas in my own childhood in the late 1960s/early 1970s meant the latest publication from D.C. Thomson - The Broons or Oor Wullie Annual; The Beezer, The Dandy or a football annual such as Shoot! or The Topical Times. Electronic gadgets were a no-no - not even Rolf Harris's innovative Stylophone (thankfully...) We didn't have turkey for Christmas dinner, we would have chicken. A small chicken, so small it was still in its shell....

Now New Year beckons and a few days off work to recharge the batteries (or sober up, whichever you prefer) Soon it will all be over, the daily grind will return - to those of us lucky enough to still have jobs - and those who think it's tasteful to have hundreds of flashing lights adoring the outside of their house will be switching them off. Darkness and the gloom of January will soon be upon us...

Happy New Year, folks!


4 comments:

FishHawk said...

I am glad to hear that the day went very well for you, my friend. In an earlier post, it sounded like you were really down. I was worried that you might turn into another Adullamite. One is plenty--be assured.

Adullamite said...

'The Topical Times' annual! I still have one or two of those! The 'Scottish Football Book' edited by Hugh Taylor was another 'must!'
I counted the pics in one of the last and found 82, 78 of which featured Rangers or Celtic players!
No bias there then!

Glad the time went well Mike.

Mike Smith said...

Thanks, fellas. You're quite right Fishy - one Adullamite in the world is enough...

Joanna Jenkins said...

It's A Wonderful Life is my all time fave Christmas movie too. I would love to see it in a theater again.

Enjoy your grandkids mike, they grow up realllly fast.

Happy New Year
Joanna