Christmas Remembered

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Christmas Remembered

Post by HEPZIBAH »

Christmas has always been special to me. I loved it as a child, and have continued to love it over the years - perhaps differently but never the less I do love it. However, as I've got older and have no family or home of my own I've never been able to 'do' Christmas my way - adding to family traditions and making my own. Today, Christmas Eve I've worked until 1pm but now that I'm free, albeit on call, I'm feeling a bit low about it all. The older I get, the more emotional I get about things - and today I'm walking an emotion tightrope with Christmas Past at one end, Christmas Future at the other end, and me somewhere in the middle (well probably more like closer to Future) with Christmas Present and not the gift variety.

Reading Carries Christmas Greeting thread, I noticed some of the past related topics in the area below. Having a quick read through them I came across one bemoaning the 'Christmas Lights in Luxor' . I responded with the following post which I wrote on Christmas Day in 2016 during my last visit to Luxor.

Re: Christmas Day
Post by HEPZIBAH » Sun Dec 25, 2016 10:28 pm

As a 'tourist' (I prefer the term visitor because of the overall nature of my being here) in Luxor, I can honestly say that I have not noticed an absence of Christmas lights, because I was not expecting to see any.

My hotel has not put on any special events or effort for Christmas, other than a few strands of tinsel that were put up last night, although they could be for the New Years Eve bash that they will be holding. Nevertheless, the warm Christmas greetings I received from the staff seemed genuinely given.

Christmas Eve, I took afternoon tea with a friend in the Old Winter Palace. The reception and stairwell area were simply but tastefully decorated. The Christmas tree feature may not be to everyone's taste because of its simplicity, but I believe it was one of a number of Christmas art installations, other examples of which I saw in the corridor leading to the Library Bar. At 6-30pm mulled wine was served to guests in the reception and the youth choir of St. Mary's presented a number of traditional, and less traditional carols and songs. Father Christmas also put in an appearance and gave out traditional gifts of oranges and sugared almonds. This took me back to happy memories of childhood when an orange was an important feature of my Christmas stocking contents as left by Father Christmas.

Later in the evening, although not a Roman Catholic, I attended the Christmas Eve Mass at the Franciscan Church. I have every reason to think I was the only 'tourist' at that service, but I was warmly welcomed and asked to take part and contribute a reading in English. I gave my thanks but declined. It was then explained to me that the service would be given in Arabic, Italian and a bit of Latin, so I may not understand it. I informed the official that this was no problem for me as I was there to remember the 'reason for the season' and to welcome in Christmas Day with other believers.

I was amused to see Father Christmas parading in with the priests and officials, but later during the service, and after short speeches (sermons) in French and German, Father Christmas proceeded to give an evangelical message in English. It is fair to say that I laughed when later, instead of giving out gifts, he came around with the offertory bag!

My Christmas Day has been spent mostly with a lovely Coptic family. They will not be celebrating Christmas until January, but were more than keen to make my Christmas Day as special as though could within their means. Nor turkey and plum pudding for us, but a lunch of home made koshery. Supper was home made falafel, salad, chips, aubergine, and flat bread. Perfect! My 'Foods I miss from Egypt and must eat' list has now been completed. Highlights of the day - a 5 year old that had gone to a Sunday School party and ringing her mummy to ask if I would like a packet of chipsy as she would buy me one; a 9 year old giving me the sweets from her party bag.

As I was on my way back to my hotel I took a phone call from a friend, concerned that I may not have had a good Christmas and been to any celebrations. Not wanting me to be alone, he and a friend invited me out for a drink and entertained me for the rest of the evening. Although I assumed we would be sharing the bill, they would not hear of it. They then ensured I safely returned to my hotel before going back to their homes.

Did I say that I hadn't noticed the lack of Christmas illuminations in a town that I would not expect to fine them?

I have had a lovely Christmas and not missed any of the traditions that it is so easy to get hung up about. x:))

I need to switch my emotional control back to neutral, count my blessings; and look forward to spending tomorrow with a couple of good friends, and anyone else that may end up joining us; and focus more on the reason for the season - the human birth of Jesus Christ.

What are your memories of Christmas? Perhaps you have special, or even not so special, memories you would like to share with us.

Image Experience is not what happens to you;
it is what you do with what happens to you.
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Re: Christmas Remembered

Post by crewmeal »

I went to my local church in Edgbaston Birmingham for the 8.00 communion service yesterday and there were 4 people there. That's 4 less than last year. The vicar rushed through the service and it was all over in 40 minutes. I recall that particular service 20 years ago would see a packed church and everyone taking communionIt felt Christmasy. How times have changed. I reflected on the times when I went with my family to church and this was all part of Christmas. But now? I spent the day with 2 old friends who bought me a present, a bottle of liquid soap! Were they trying to tell me something? Folk would would say it's the thought that counts. They were surrounded by huge boxes of chocolates and ended up stuffing their faces which made me want to puke. I was glad to drive home and have my house to myself armed with a bottle of Harvey's Bristol Cream. That was Christmas 2019. It's Boxing day and my thoughts turn to my annual summer hols in Luxor. What a pleasent thought!

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Re: Christmas Remembered

Post by carrie »

Never much liked Christmas after my kids grew up and Mum died.
I used to love the cries of Mum he's been he's been. All get up then and within a hour the house looked like a bombshell, paper everywhere and two very happy kids. Later my relations came to me (again) for Christmas lunch and the unwrapping of presents would begin again. When they grew up all changed no shopping for surprise pressies no big build up. They knew what they wanted or just the money.
Taking all that time to cook and shop and everything gone within an hour.
This year decided to do nothing would make myself a nice lunch and have a glass of wine. Never again suffered after that with indigestion, said it before but I mean it this time no more alcohol for me.

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Re: Christmas Remembered

Post by Yildez »

I haven’t celebrated Xmas for many, many years, I have absolutely no interest in it at all. I think for many people it’s a time of stress, family tension, and for some a time of loneliness and deep despair, fuelled by media hype.

I live in Datca, Turkey, a small seaside town with few foreign residents/visitors, and the 25th is an ordinary working day, which suits me fine. I sometimes spend the day with friends, having a nice lunch, occasionally cooking lunch myself - usually a leg of local lamb as I dislike turkey.

However, a memorable 25th was spent in Luxor in 2015! Carrie and 2 other friends came over to the flat I was renting in Medina, and we had lunch on the roof terrace - a Thai banquet from Kam Thai restaurant, which had recently opened. It was absolutely delicious, and we all ate far too much!!

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