Because this is as much a scrapbook as a blog, the tenth of Christmas is as good an excuse as any to reproduce this poem by T.S Eliot.
The Cultivation of Christmas Trees
There are several attitudes towards Christmas,
Some of which we may disregard:
The social, the torpid, the patently commercial,
The rowdy (the pubs being open till midnight),
And the childish – which is not that of the child
For whom the candle is a star, and the gilded angel
Spreading its wings at the summit of the tree
Is not only a decoration, but an angel.
The child wonders at the Christmas Tree:
Let him continue in the spirit of wonder
At the Feast as an event not accepted as a pretext;
So that the glittering rapture, the amazement
Of the first-remembered Christmas Tree,
So that the surprises, delight in new possessions
(Each one with its peculiar and exciting smell),
The expectation of the goose or turkey
And the expected awe on its appearance,
So that the reverence and the gaiety
May not be forgotten in later experience,
In the bored habituation, the fatigue, the tedium,
The awareness of death, the consciousness of failure,
Or in the piety of the convert
Which may be tainted with a self-conceit
Displeasing to God and disrespectful to the children
(And here I remember also with gratitude
St. Lucy, her carol, and her crown of fire):
So that before the end, the eightieth Christmas
(By ‘eightieth’ meaning whichever is the last)
The accumulated memories of annual emotion
May be concentrated into a great joy
Which shall also be a great fear, as on the occasion
When fear came upon every soul:
Because the beginning shall remind us of the end
And the first coming of the second coming.
T.S. Eliot Collected poems 1909-1962. London, Faber & Faber, 1974, pp. 117-8.
An interesting thing about this writing (apart from the poem itself which, it seems to me, is as acute an observation of Christmas as when written in 1954) is that, as far as I can tell, it is in perfectly correct English, despite being only two sentences, the second of which has 198 words. Long sentences are difficult to write and read and are out of fashion, but I admire the craftsmanship of fine writing.