Reader Letter: Christmas isn't what it was
PUBLISHED: 16:37 31 December 2017 | UPDATED: 16:37 31 December 2017
Archant © 2008
One of our readers thinks Christmas just isn’t what it used to be anymore. Do you agree?
The date December 25, 1967, Christmas Day. Fifty years have passed, since I as an eight-year-old boy opened my presents on that morning.
Oh, how the world has changed, not for the better in many ways, yes, we have made medical advances, we can run a car on electric (if only 50 miles), we can talk, watch TV, send messages all on our smart phones, but in some ways, we have lost so much more.
Our children, for example, have for the most part lost the real joy of Christmas, when I was a child Christmas was the one time of year you got toys that were too expensive for any other time of year including birthdays, I remember when Advent calendars were a countdown to the best day of the year, and you didn’t need chocolate behind every door to entice you to open them, even the lead up to Christmas was special.
Being taken to Oxford Street to see the lights and the shop window displays was a thing of wonderment and a cheap day out to boot. It still to this day brings back memories as crisp as freshly fallen snow. Nothing in my life has made such a lasting impact that will be with me until my last breath.
If I shut my eyes I can immediately be walking down Oxford Street towards Regent Street, just as the daylight slips away. The smell of street vendors selling small white bags of roasted chestnuts, that warm your frozen fingers. The shop windows all vying for the best display, fluffy mechanical rabbits move stiffly and unnaturally while sitting on a sheet of cotton wool in a winter wonderland setting.
Another window, another scene, this one Santa’s workshop with his trusty elves putting together the finishing touches to the toys for the big day, simple wooden toys, not an Xbox or mobile phone in sight. Every window getting you more excited.
Then you enter Selfridges and make your way to the toy floor, as the doors to the lift slide open your bottom jaw follows. You step out into a dream like world, every toy you’ve ever wanted is on show including some you have never seen before and instantly want.
With the advent of the internet and hundreds of TV channels this scenario is no more. Children of today no longer enjoy that feeling, they are forced to grow beyond their years. They see everything on TV months before Christmas they send Santa lists of hundreds of pounds worth of toys the wonderment has gone.
The North Pole is melting we are told but just as worryingly for every parent and would-be parent should be the fact that childhood is no longer the special place that a human mind sets as a safety valve to slip back into when times are hard through later life.
Within a few generations memories like the ones I hold so dear will be lost. Along with the faint sound of sleigh bells on a snowy Christmas Eve! While a small child struggles in vain to fall asleep.