Tuesday, December 22, 2009

When I first came to Norfolk Island, 43 years ago, Christmas was a fairly quiet and low key affair. The most public event seemed to be the arrival of Father Christmas - always in the Fire Engine - to hand out presents to the children at school.
Even today, you could not say it was highly commercialised, but there is a lot more glitter and fanfare than in those early days, and there are many pre-Christmas gatherings. In a community where most people wear many hats, you tend to get involved in several!
Here are just a few pictures of some we have been involved in so far.
Our Tuesday craft group had a lovely lunch at Bounty Lodge, and Joanne allowed us to stay and sew - and drink tea from the elegant china - on our own private verandah all afternoon!

White Oaks celebrated with a Christmas Buffett at the Colonial Hotel.

On Thursday evening, the Chamber of Commerce organised a wonderful Pageant down in the village. I think most of Norfolk came along to enjoy the festivities, the food and the shopping opportunities.

On Sunday evening, before the Service of Lessons and Carols in All Saints, a handful of us had a very pleasant picnic down in the Compound. It was just lovely to relax in the cool of the early evening after a rather hot day!

Tomorrow night will be the Community Carols by Candlelight in the grounds of Government House. This is a very traditional event, in a beautiful setting. But I must confess I have mixed feelings about it. Nowadays, the children do not learn or sing the Christian, nativity- based carols at school, and they simply do not know the carols their parents enjoy singing, and some very valuable community and family traditions have been lost in the name of political correctness. Almost literally, the children and their parents and grandparents do not sing from the same songsheet! And in a community carol singing, there is no sharing or togetherness between young and old. About the only ones both groups know are Rudolph the Red-nosed Reindeer and Jingle Bells.
I do not have a great difficulty with everyone celebrating Christmas in their own way, although for me the Christian message of God's gift of Jesus the Christchild will always be central. But to deny our children the right to sing along with their parents the familiar songs that have lasted for generations seems to go against the very values that makes Christmas special! (Pardon me for hopping on my soapbox for a moment. I promise not to do it again for a while.)

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