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  • Writer's picturecchuttonwriter

Hunting the Christmas Spirit

I know it is said that the Highlands are used to long dark days in the winter but in reality we are more used to sharp blue sky and blazing cold sun. Short days yes, but bright ones. This year so far we have had constant dreich weather. The sun seemly has forgotten to rise yet again. So in an effort to dispel the lack of light I took myself off around the burgh.

Living in a small rural place has its advantages. The community has tried its best to lighten the load and looked for every excuse to brighten people’s outlook. Every child received an art parcel from the Trust before Halloween. Then windows were decorated throughout the area in blacks, oranges and lights. Families were encouraged to walk around to view the different displays.

Now, rumour has it that a special guest will be arriving at every street corner with a present for each child before the bairns break up for school. I expect the reindeers will be resting up though before their momentous task on the night of the 24th. I wonder whose car our red suited visitor will be borrowing then for his visits?

As before windows and displays will be shinning forth and families urged to walk around and view them. Many householders have attempted to decorate early so people can enjoy this blast in the dark for longer.

Only I forgot one thing. I forgot that it is just our wee spot in the vastness that is taking part. There I was sitting yet again in a virtual meeting, Christmas tree shining colourfully at my back, enjoying the ambiance. When someone pointed out,

“You’ve got your tree up already, really it’s a bit early isn’t it?” Perhaps for some but here in fact, I was a few days later with the lights at least. We are so wrapped up in our wee worlds right now it is often easy to forget that we are not all on the same time scale.

So did my little or as it turned out longer than expected trip around the area’s lights help to lift the spirits? Well as a matter of fact it did. This of course may have been helped by the hot chocolate I drunk afterwards. Or indeed the playing of Christmas music or burning of the open fire. Well it is cold outside and you can’t beat a real live open fire for the suggestion at least of warmth. Of course a mulled wine may have done the same.

In a few days it won’t matter whether we all put our decorations up early or not. The rest of the world who participates will have joined us anyway.

I now look forward to next week when Bodach na Nollaig or Santa or Father Christmas or whatever you care to call him will arrive at the end our street. As a grownup will I step out and wonder or will I simply close the door and huddle beside the fire?

If my reaction to a few bright lights are anything to go by, then I feel confident to say that our visitor will indeed bring forth feelings of the Christmas spirit.

So is it really a self-indulgent time of the year? Has the real meaning of Christmas collapsed under the weight of commercialism? I don’t think so, just pause for a second and contemplate. How many places would say “come on in, peer into our gardens? We’ve left sweets, we’ve put up decorations for everyone to enjoy. You are welcome. Share with us some light in the dark.”

This has nothing to do with commercialism. People are not doing this just for their own benefit. They haven’t spent every spare minute hunting fruitlessly for that ‘Christmas Spirit’ inside a few large stores.

No these people, have instead planned and made the effort to call out to neighbours and friends and those they are yet to meet, to come along and share in their celebrations. They have been and are sending out those feeling of wonder and joy within their own community and beyond.

So for all you folks who have helped spread the good cheer and lit up our wee burgh like a….well like a Christmas tree, thank you from the bottom of my steaming hot chocolate mug.

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