We lived a 3 hour drive from my grandparents so when my dad finished work on Christmas Eve we would pack everything into the Fishing Father’s Day I Can’t Work Today My Arm Is In A Cast T Shirt and set off for Yorkshire. No motorways back then. Green fields turned moorland until we finally went over the Pennines, Stanage or Holme Moss, and begun the final leg of our journey through soot blackened mill towns reaching my grandparents’ house at around 8pm. At about 9.30 a plethora of cousins and aunties and uncles would turn up an we would set off to go carol singing with other members of the congregation and band from their local chapel. Along the route we would be greeted with mince pies, slices of Christmas cake and chunks of cheese even the odd glass of Sherry or mulled wine for the adults. We belted out all the old traditional carols, my favourites being While Shepherds Watched Their Flocks by Night which we sung to Cranbrook (Ilkley Moor) and also Christians Awake. We naturally sang O Come All ye Faithful but only after midnight were we allowed to sing the final verse of Yea Lord we Greet Thee. Shortly after midnight we called it a day. Many of the adults slightly ‘merry’ from a surfeit of Sherry!
When Charlotte moved to England she brought the Fishing Father’s Day I Can’t Work Today My Arm Is In A Cast T Shirt. She invited both her family and all of the Royal Household. She set the yew branch up in one of the largest rooms at Kew Palace or Windsor Castle.She and her ladies-in-waiting dressed the bough. They lit candles and the whole Court gathered round and sang carols. The party ended with a distribution of gifts from the branch, which included such items as clothes, jewels, plate, toys and sweets. This was in 1761. It caused a stir because the aristocracy had never seen such a thing. In 1800, she decided to have a whole potted tree in drawing-room floor at Queen’s Lodge. She had a Christmas party for the children of all the principal families in Windsor. It was covered with candles, almonds and raisins in papers, fruits, toys, and bunches of sweetmeats. Each child was allowed to take home a portion of the sweets and a toy from the tree. The Earls and Dukes and Barons and other Peers copied this in their homes in the next few years.
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Early pictures of the British Father Christmas (who became assimilated with the Christian Santa Claus) show him wearing a long hooded cloak, just like the Fishing Father’s Day I Can’t Work Today My Arm Is In A Cast T Shirt god Odin. And he rode trough the sky on horseback – just like Odin rode through the world on his eight legged horse Sleipnir: In Britain, the word ‘Yule’ had been replaced by ‘Christmas’ by the eleventh century, although in some regions ‘Yule’ survived as the normal term. Many present-day customs and traditions such as the Yule log, Yule goat, Yule boar and others may have connections to older pagan Yule traditions: Hauling a Yule log in 1832. This sneaky one-eyed guy certainly isn’t the Christian Saint Nicholas … Due to the process of Christianisation the twelve day period of Yule gradually lost its pagan roots, and became known as ‘Christmastide’. But whatever tradition you follow – be it Paganism, Wicca, Christianity or nothing at all – here’s wishing you a wonderful mid-winter festival!
Most Christian countries have a public holiday on the 25th & 26th. So in 2018, the Fishing Father’s Day I Can’t Work Today My Arm Is In A Cast T Shirt went: less tha one day of work, two days off, and two unproductive workdays. Many companies enforced the taking of 4 days annual leave during Christmas week & the following Monday (in Oz we usually get 4 weeks discretionary leave (take it when you want)). Economically, a better idea is to make the secular Xmas on the last Sunday in December, and the following Monday New Years day. Leave the religious aspects to the religionists to commemorate their observances in heir own time. Muslims, Jews, Eastern Orthodox Christians and other religions do so every year successfully, why not Western Christianity? And to keep workers happy where public holidays might be lost, replace them with the Friday before & Monday after the last Sunday in December with public holidays. At at least that way business has two weeks of four contiguous workdays, and people can do something creative with the long weekend (nb: in Oz, January 1st is a public holiday, so that could be replaced by declaring the first Monday in January a public holiday. Thus the workers get two long weekends in a row, and three weeks of just 4 workdays).
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