The New Zealand Railways Magazine, Volume 7, Issue 7 (December 1, 1932)
Ideas on Christmas, 1932
Ideas on Christmas, 1932.
Once again the wail of the waits is heard in the land. Those sinister words, ‘suitable gift’ and ‘very seasonable,’ have crept into the shop windows of Oxford Street and Regent Street. Even the most hardened Scrooges find themselves involuntarily carried away upon the stream of goodwill and donate half-crowns to startled nephews. In fact, Christmas is here again!”
For so many people to-day Christmas means nothing at all except a momentary release from toil—in fact hundreds of men definitely dislike the season of “universal good-fellowship.” But they can't ignore it. They snort derisively at the rotund and beaming “Father Christmases” who parade the cities with their balloons and baggages. They regard the “Magic Cave” with all the suspicion of good citizens in the Middle Ages before a den of some magician. They curse the small boy with his joyful squeaker, the jostling, cheerful crowd “Christmas shopping,” the windows gay with colourful and appealing advertisements, the radios broadcasting carols, the very newspapers full of the thing—even to the degree of ghost stories! In fact, they regard the whole business as if not a relic of barbarism, anyhow a childish and undignified display for a civilised and cultured race.
Yes! Christmas is rapidly losing its meaning for most of us; especially out here in the Antipodes, where the traditions of Dickens and the chimes from historic bells belong to another world. For us there are no carol singers piping the time-honoured exploits of a “Good King Wenceslas,” grouped out there in the snow, wrenching from us by sheer lung power, our praise and our pennies.
Where are the days of holly and mistletoe, of Ye Olde Yule Log, and the steaming bowl of punch? Are we forgetting these things out here in our remote little Pacific island—and is it best that we should? Must we create our own traditions?
Personally, I am sure that the spirit of medieval England breathes here beneath a summer sun, just as it does in London fogs, in Berlin snows, in Paris, in Stockholm, in Vienna; because Christmas, the season of brotherhood, of joy, of giving, is like the mythical Phoenix, and springs into new life and youth from the ashes of its funeral pyre.
If we are accused of being childish—so much the better—let us be happy, let us be simple and trusting and eager to take all that Life can offer us.
Father Christmas is still a very real and very thrilling figure to hundreds of children page 64 —he always will be! Turkey and plum puddings, mince pies, Christmas cakes, stockings—when will all these be forgotten?
While Londoners sleep beneath a softly falling snow, in New Zealand it will be Christmas Day, 1932, and it will be quite obvious that we are not forgetting our heritage.