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The real meaning of Christmas

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In his weekly column, John Ward looks at the festive season.

I will admit that this Christmas will once again be different due to something most of us never thought possible a couple of years ago when coronavirus came into our lives although not through our choosing.

Scribbling away obviously before the actual festive event I have lost track of the many people ‘of a certain mature age’ it’s true, who all have said about the same thing: “Christmas is not like it used to be,” plus after saying that, the other now seemingly standard issue quote is: “It’s too commercial these days as it’s lost the true, real meaning of the event,” and in some respects they are spot on.

Nowadays it seems to be mainly about selling items such as expensive and possibly questionable presents, assorted ‘festive party food’ items that bear close scrutiny before even thinking about attempting to bite into.

Columnist John Ward (53917701)
Columnist John Ward (53917701)

These ‘festive foods’ being derived from wonderful animals or sea creatures that were minding their own business unaware a supermarket executive and his overzealous product team were planning on turning them into something edible in a far off land – or here to be precise.

Within a short while afterwards there will be pleas in the media, plus just about every other telly advert break asking us to subscribe anything from two pounds upwards a month as those we have chomped our way through over the festive period that were covered in anything from batter to breadcrumbs are now, unsurprisingly, an endangered species but our “help is urgently required,” or rather our bank details are.

Television has become it’s own worst enemy with so many wonderful (?) adverts that help to keep those programme things from going on too long in one session – imagine going to the cinema as halfway through the film, there is an advert for the latest deals on fitted kitchens or memory foam mattresses.

However the one supposed ‘free of advents’ channel seems to be knee deep in repeats or doom and gloom, soap dramas with their usually depressing story lines.

Based on past experiences, perhaps a preview of a possible ‘East-Hemmerdalers’ with their ‘Christmas Special’ edition might bring much joy and happiness (okay, despair and grief) to the flat screen wonder (FSW) as the story unfolds at this particular time of the year.

The scene is in the bar of The Queen Adele, the local public house (a.k.a the boozer) where Tazmin the bar serving person is in dispute with Split, the local no-good, rotten tearaway and also didn’t eat his greens up as his mother asked him to, as to was he given the right change or not.

He challenges Tazmin: “Ere... wot sis all abart den? – I gave you a ten pande note but you gave me change for a fiver,” as Tazmin explains he’s all of a dither as he is on edge as he is waiting for the results of his tests to come back to find out if he has passed them so he can open bottles with a corkscrew without supervision relating to Health and Safety At Work Directive - Number: 837548/975283/ 3890745/ Bonus Ball 7 / 397467/16753 - PE14 5RU – UK.

Amid this crisis ‘R Shell’ from number seventeen, green door, who has just recovered from a life and death trauma situation trying to get served in ‘Tonto’s Corner Mega Market’ as they had run out of oven ready bamboo shoots with broccoli sauce, bursts into to ask: “Ere – wots going on den?! – I have just found art who my real, biodegradable favver is – it’s that bloke who lives in the same harse wiv me and my mum all dese years and calls me his daw-tar, like,” at the top of her voice.

On hearing this everybody –actors and extras alike –are shocked to hear this although most knew as they had obviously read the script beforehand at rehearsals but still stayed on to do their stunned ferret look as they still had to pay their mortgages.

Next a snooker match breaks out amid a fight going on in the lounge but is soon stopped with the ringleader – Scraggy Silvia, from number 23 – being banned for life or until the script writers get stuck for more storylines then she is written back in a fortnight later where we find out that she has recovered from an open purse and handbag experience but will make a full recovery in episode 3,279.

Next Tazmin rings the bar brass bell to get everybody’s attention and once obtained he speaks: “Ladies and gentleman plus those sheltering here from the rain – it’s now stopped – can I respectfully remind you that it is coming up to that very special time on Christmas afternoon where we are waiting to hear from that ‘very, very important person’ who has worked their socks off this last year to be with us both in our hearts, thoughts, and minds constantly…”

A lone voice is heard at this juncture – it’s Regimental Reg, from number 27 billet, with the Union Jack flag proudly hanging from his satellite dish on the roof: “Ole no! – don’t tell me that Bradley Walsh is doing that as well –I thought he agreed not to read the news or do the weather forecast as I mean, well, it’s Christmas innit.”

It’s pointed out that it’s not him but somebody far greater as their image is on our postage stamps – somebody suggests it’s Del Trotter but another voice corrects him as they were on the ‘Only Fools and Horses’ special edition set of postage stamps as they settle back to hear that important message at three o’clock on the FSW from Her Majesty the Queen.

Other traditional events at this time have also changed slightly: nowadays many think that Boxing Day is the time to re-package the presents to be sent back afterwards as they were brought on-line only to find out that: they didn’t fit, had a sleeve missing, the zip was broken or the batteries arrived but with nothing to put them in such as a present that they might have fitted.

However, what passes for the true meaning of Christmas is really all about one special person – no, not Bradley – who was born on that day and why we celebrate this event.

Have a Merry Christmas.

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