Blog : Posts tagged with 'Yuletide'

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The turn of the year

In which I consider the seasonal cycle


The night is drawing in, as I draft this post.* The sky is darkening, and the lamps are lit, to brighten the house and drive back the winter darkness. It’s a time to light candles, and fires, and stare into their hearts. We still have a visceral response to fire, glowing embers and flickering, crackling flames.

As we stare at it, though, the world turns. The world turns, and after today, ice gives way to fire again. It might take time for the darkness to lift and long days to return; but the world will turn, and everything will come around in its cycle. As it does every year. That doesn’t mean, though, that today isn’t time to light a candle and huddle round it, fighting back the dark.

* which was a few days ago, now; and when this post appeared online it was morning. But it’s a better way to open than: “The night is drawing in … well, it was at 4pm on Friday”

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Yuletide

In which FP feels like cancelling Christmas, but bringing back Yule


There’s five days to go, and I already feel like I want to cancel Christmas. I haven’t written a single card. I haven’t bought many presents, and I have no idea what The Parents actually want. To be fair, neither do they. I try to go look for something on my lunch break, and everyone else has had the same idea. The roads into town are gridlocked; as soon as I’ve found a parking space, it’s time to head out back to the office again.

But then, I look out at the night sky, and I remember what the Yuletide season is really about. I feel the crisp air, watch the frost, and think about the turning seasons. On Saturday,* the daytime stops shrinking and slowly starts to get longer again; and there is winter itself to enjoy. As this year starts to turn over into the next, I know I’m older, wiser, learning more about who I am and what I enjoy in life; and becoming happier with it, too. And I’m looking forward to life with excitement, and wondering just what we’re going to do next.

* Pedants might point out that the solstice is on the 21st, and Saturday is the 22nd. However, the solstice isn’t always on the same date. This December it’s on the 22nd, unless you’re in the Far East.

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That time of the year

In which we plan next Christmas already


Next year, and in future, I’m going to make my own Christmas cards, pretending to come from intriguing-sounding fictitious organisations.

Blessed Yule from the Chocolate Digestive Research Association

Or, if I feel really energetic, invent complete round-robin letters in a similar vein

2007 was a busy year for everyone at the Calderdale Explorers And Adventurers Society. In January, Sir Reginald Outhwaite (membership no. 207) discovered an entirely new and unmapped area of wilderness near Denholm Clough, but was soon overshadowed by Col. Andrew Davidson-Spong’s discovery of a lost Andean civilisation in the hills just outside Todmordon. February was quiet, but March brought our annual big-game hunting expedition, this year in a part of the world our members rarely visit – Scarborough.

Seasonal tidings to anyone who has come online today. I’m off now, to throw balled-up wrapping paper for the cat to play fetch with.

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The fog

In which it’s the season of the new year


The fog is thick all over the country at the moment, but it’s only now it is affecting The South that it makes it into the news. Up here in The Forest we’ve had thick fog all week, but it hasn’t troubled the press at all. I’ve been driving the Town route home rather than the normal Country route,* because a fog-bump at 30mph is a lot safer, to my mind, than one at 70.

I’ve recently been rereading The Dark Is Rising, by Susan Cooper, for the nth time. And with the weather gripping the country, I couldn’t help thinking about that book. It’s set at this time of year, between Yuletide and Epiphany, and as the great force of evil, the Dark, rises and attacks the land, it brings on a great freeze and blizzards, stopping anyone from leaving their home. A great freeze is rather more dramatic than all-consuming freezing fog, but the fog has the same effect, muffling us all and slowing us to a standstill.

But now it’s the 21st of December, the time the festive season really starts. The solstice is tomorrow, I believe, and the year will have turned over. The solstice is the proper new year – it’s not an arbitrary date, it’s a measurable point in the turning sky. From tonight, everything will get lighter and brighter and on its way into spring. This is the time of year for flame and warmth and remembering that sunlight will come back into our lives.

* which is longer but a lot quicker.

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Solstice

In which we start being festive


It’s the shortest day. From now on, things start to get warmer and lighter again.

I wish we could celebrate in the traditional way, by burning a Yule log to bring us health and happiness. Unfortunately, we don’t have a hearth, so that’s out of the window.* We’ll have to make do with holly, mistletoe, friendship and over-eating. For me, the solstice is when the festive season properly starts.

* You also might not want to do it if you believe it might associate you with the satanic New World Order, of course.

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Number Ten

In which Christmas is coming


Normally I’m one of the first people to moan about Christmas coming too early. The tree should go up in December; the only cards to go out in November should be airmail ones; and Christmas stuff appearing in the shops in October is just silly.

This year, though, I’ve been persuaded off the habit, and it’s all the BBC‘s fault. My computer desktop wallpaper is now both seasonal and geeky. Hurrah!

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