Tuesday, December 31, 2013

A New Year and New Possibilites

It's New Year's Eve and my readers in Europe are coming close to the end of 2013. We still have several more hours to wait. This evening was a big family night. We would all gather at one of the aunt's house to snack on sweets, play board games, and watch the televised event in Times Square in NYC. The family gatherings are smaller. The dinner on the Eve is still a celebration. It should be a celebration to close out one year and to welcome another. Our feast replicates the Christmas Eve dinner with seafood.
So we wish ourselves a year of promise. This current year had its days of good things and sadness. Loss is a part of life and we can't be spared from it. We can only wish for the best. Those are the times that are joyful.
If I had a champagne glass in my hand, I would raise it to my readers and wish you the best for 2014.
Happy New Year!

Friday, December 6, 2013

Some Nostalgia For This Season

This caption is from our miniature Christmas display. The whole set is a replication of a nineteenth century village. It seems customary during the Christmas Season to view this era as idyllic. Life was simpler but also harsher. But it wouldn't seem right to display a contemporary scene because how could it evoke sentiment?What is the cause of that sentiment? Was it the story of a miserly old man who was radically transformed to become a better person? Scrooge evolves from viewing everything in life as humbug to embracing all that is good within it. Dickens makes Christmas in his little novella the hallmark of all the goodness in life. It is a time of giving and joy. It is also a time of innocence as captured here in these children building snowmen.

So what are we doing to recreate a setting that existed in the past? It is decorative. It's purpose goes deeper than a pretty display. We set up space in our living room to remind us that Christmas is just not about how many shopping days there are until Christmas. There weren't Black Fridays or Cyber Mondays in the nineteenth century. There wasn't a need to get the best deals. It was a slower pace of life which we can never regain. We live in the twenty-first century and go along with as much of the commercialization as possible. Our village display along with the creche will always remind us of what really is Christmas.