’Tis the season to be jolly, but Nature has her own view
then, when you leave church, you feel it: the deep peace that has descended on earth this silent, holy night.
the real gift of the twelve Days of Christmas is time. the holiday element of Christmas is ancient, harking back to and the second Council of tours, when monks were put on furlough. Christmas lunch is, accordingly, long and leisurely and, in the afternoon, there are the hours to sit in the armchair to read a book and play Cluedo as a family, as you did when you were small.
these are a few of our favourite things at Christmas: King’s College Choir, the Queen’s Speech, Christmas pud with hidden £1 coins, the tartan Pringle socks from Great Aunt Madeleine (at least she remembered), the London international Horse Show, the reith Christmas Lectures and those strange foods that come out only for Yule suppers, headed by gherkins, turkish Delight, dates, piccalilli and roast chestnuts.
Christmas is a time of promise. We have climbed the hill of the year and longer days are in sight. As a bonus, there is the pleasing reassurance of ritual; sherry in the morning with neighbours, the Boxing Day meet or shoot, the jolly along the lane with the labrador to work off the Christmas excess (hers, as well as yours), then Hogmanay and wild, wild reeling.