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 Post subject: Re: Christmas at the Chalet School
PostPosted: 17 Dec 2017, 13:07 
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Having Miss Ferrars as Form Mistress
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This is probably - almost certainly - me being a grumpy old woman but I received a Christmas card yesterday from a member of the family and I've had more personal cards from B&Bs in which I've stayed. The card was a postcard with picture of said family and a printed message which stated "Happy Holidays from the ............". Nothing handwritten, no "to Liz and SLOC". Envelope had printed address label to which I have no objection. I feel that the sending of cards was an automated process which had to be seen to be done but with no real feeling behind it. I'd rather they donated the money spent to a charity. I know they are busy people but I have friends/family who are equally, if not more, busy who manage to give their cards a personal touch.

Rant over but am I being unreasonable?

Edited to say that this should have been put in the whinges thread!


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 Post subject: Re: Christmas at the Chalet School
PostPosted: 17 Dec 2017, 14:59 
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Joyce wrote:
I don't really understand that mentality at all. It's fine to celebrate it in your own way as long as it doesn't hurt anyone else, but to totally divorce it from its religious origins and claim it as a secular holiday is absurd.
[/quote]

But which religious origins? The church hijacked a pagan festival in order to ensure that people would convert by providing them with a celebration at the time at which they were accustomed to have one. And that religious ceremony probably simply started as a way to mark the turning of the winter. So if you want to celebrate midwinter, I'd say you could call it a secular holiday.


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 Post subject: Re: Christmas at the Chalet School
PostPosted: 17 Dec 2017, 17:42 
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I still think that the Christmas in Innsbruck is one of the best descriptions. I know it's not really at the school but it's lovely that Jo, The Robin and Madge are invited by the Mensches (I hope that's right and it's not the Maranis - I don't have the book to hand!) and experience a Christmas that's really different.

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 Post subject: Re: Christmas at the Chalet School
PostPosted: 17 Dec 2017, 17:49 
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Yes, it's the Mensches. There are a lot of Christmas chapters, in various books, that I like to re-read in December, but that's my favourite.

There's one year - I think in it's Exploits - in which it's considered too far for the British and American girls to go home for Christmas, but by then there are too many of them for Madge, Gisela et al to invite them all, so they go to Kufstein with some of the mistresses. I've always wondered what that was like.

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 Post subject: Re: Christmas at the Chalet School
PostPosted: 17 Dec 2017, 19:12 
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The Christmas in Jo of is probably about one of the nicest scenes in the whole CS series, right from the walk at the beginning ( I did what must have been very close to that in August on the cog railway from Jenbach to Lake Achensee) to the first evening in the Mensch household to the shopping on Christmas Eve to Christmas Day it is just sparkling and EBD - as well as Jo and Madge - at her best.

The Mensches were very kind as were the Maranis where they went for new year.

Lovely!


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 Post subject: Re: Christmas at the Chalet School
PostPosted: 18 Dec 2017, 11:45 
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lizco wrote:
This is probably - almost certainly - me being a grumpy old woman but I received a Christmas card yesterday from a member of the family and I've had more personal cards from B&Bs in which I've stayed. The card was a postcard with picture of said family and a printed message which stated "Happy Holidays from the ............". Nothing handwritten, no "to Liz and SLOC". Envelope had printed address label to which I have no objection. I feel that the sending of cards was an automated process which had to be seen to be done but with no real feeling behind it. I'd rather they donated the money spent to a charity. I know they are busy people but I have friends/family who are equally, if not more, busy who manage to give their cards a personal touch.

Rant over but am I being unreasonable?

Edited to say that this should have been put in the whinges thread!


I agree, but at least they still go to the bother of sending cards. More and more people just send a quick text in lieu of a card nowadays, which I find quite sad. But most people I know say that they get fewer cards nowadays than they used to get, and far fewer than their parents received.

A lot of people cite the cost of stamps as a reason, but many of those people spend huge amounts on presents, meals out etc around Christmas.


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 Post subject: Re: Christmas at the Chalet School
PostPosted: 18 Dec 2017, 13:08 
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A lot of people say that they're making a donation to charity instead, but I buy cards from a charity shop and make the donation that way. I appreciate that people have busy lives, and I'm not trying to have a go at anyone, but how long does it take to write "Dear Madge and Jem" at the top of a card and "Love from Joey and Jack" at the bottom of it?

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 Post subject: Re: Christmas at the Chalet School
PostPosted: 18 Dec 2017, 19:24 
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However the charity doesn't get all the money with the cards, between 6-25% in most cases, even those which state 100% it's only 80% because of tax and VAT, so some people would rather give all the money they woud have spent on cards on a donation which the charity actually gets


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 Post subject: Re: Christmas at the Chalet School
PostPosted: 18 Dec 2017, 20:50 
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claire wrote:
However the charity doesn't get all the money with the cards, between 6-25% in most cases, even those which state 100% it's only 80% because of tax and VAT, so some people would rather give all the money they woud have spent on cards on a donation which the charity actually gets


Precisely so.

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 Post subject: Re: Christmas at the Chalet School
PostPosted: 19 Dec 2017, 01:05 
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Peg wrote:
But which religious origins? The church hijacked a pagan festival in order to ensure that people would convert by providing them with a celebration at the time at which they were accustomed to have one. And that religious ceremony probably simply started as a way to mark the turning of the winter. So if you want to celebrate midwinter, I'd say you could call it a secular holiday.


I think Christians would say Christmas is a celebration of a Saviour's birth and they don't bother with the hijacking aspect. :D

What bothered me about the panellist's comments was his insistence that Christmas should be celebrated as a secular celebration and NOT as a religious one because he doesn't want his children to be 'exposed' to the nativity aspects.

By all means, make your views known to the school and ask for your children to be given another activity to do when the play is on, but not everyone in the school is going to feel that way.

I simply don't agree. There should be a choice - if you want to go to church and keep it as a religious holiday then go ahead. If you don't, then that should be fine too. But to insist it should no longer be a religious celebration is just wrong.

Back to CS, I love the scenes in And Jo when Joey and Madge go shopping particularly the fact that they wait till the last few days and it's not a long drawn out affair of constant buying. And the way the Mensch's go out of their way to give them a wonderful first Christmas in the Tyrol.

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 Post subject: Re: Christmas at the Chalet School
PostPosted: 19 Dec 2017, 08:46 
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I've just been re-reading that, and noticed that the Mensches had a load of mince pies! I don't know why it's never struck me before, but are mince pies eaten in Austria? Or maybe they just made them to make the Bettanys feel at home.

It's a lovely section. It's sweet without being sickly. There's plenty of humour in it - Joey wants to take Rufus with them, Herr Mensch is bemused by one of his presents, Madge and Joey have to try not to laugh when the Mensches want Joey to wear a pinafore, etc.

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 Post subject: Re: Christmas at the Chalet School
PostPosted: 19 Dec 2017, 11:00 
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Alison H wrote:
I've just been re-reading that, and noticed that the Mensches had a load of mince pies! I don't know why it's never struck me before, but are mince pies eaten in Austria? Or maybe they just made them to make the Bettanys feel at home.


No, they don't have them; in fact shortcrust pies as we know them are somewhat rare in Central Europe anyway, let alone filled with mincemeat.

I have always chosen to think of this as a kind gesture towards the Bettanys but if truth be told, EBD probably didn't know any better. Isn't there mention of "puddings" as well? I am too comfortable to go upstairs and check but if they do, that's wrong too....

ETA This is what is meant by "pudding" over most of Europe, though it can be any flavour.

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 Post subject: Re: Christmas at the Chalet School
PostPosted: 19 Dec 2017, 11:28 
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It says that they don't have English Christmas pudding, but I don't think it mentions what they have instead. And it says that Madge gave them a box of crackers - I would normally (in a Christmassy context) take that to mean the sort of crackers that you pull and get silly hats out of :lol: , but it sounds as if they eat them, so I assume it means cream crackers, and I'm not sure what they've got to do with Christmas.

Then, back at school, they roast chestnuts over the fire. That scene's there mainly so that Jo can burn her tongue and get in a bad mood, but the idea of the girls roasting chestnuts over an open fire in the common room's rather nice.

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 Post subject: Re: Christmas at the Chalet School
PostPosted: 19 Dec 2017, 11:47 
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I thought Madge provided crackers that you pull and wondered where she got them in Innsbrucke. Surely not cream crackers - shop-bought !


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 Post subject: Re: Christmas at the Chalet School
PostPosted: 19 Dec 2017, 12:28 
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If edible, it sounds as if the crackers were more of the bob-bon type - perhaps the kind referred to as "long-tailed bonbons with gay streamers of ribbon" that Katy encounters in Italy in What Katy Did, especially as Tom Smith apparently based his crackers of the pull-apart kind on a range of bonbon sweets that he produced.


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 Post subject: Re: Christmas at the Chalet School
PostPosted: 19 Dec 2017, 13:28 
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Ah, that makes more sense :D . I couldn't imagine Madge turning up with a box of Jacob's cream crackers, but nor could I imagine them eating paper hats and jokes!

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 Post subject: Re: Christmas at the Chalet School
PostPosted: 19 Dec 2017, 13:38 
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Noreen wrote:
If edible, it sounds as if the crackers were more of the bob-bon type - perhaps the kind referred to as "long-tailed bonbons with gay streamers of ribbon" that Katy encounters in Italy in What Katy Did, especially as Tom Smith apparently based his crackers of the pull-apart kind on a range of bonbon sweets that he produced.

We spent Christmas 1946 in Prague and I can remember some cracker-like objects on the tree but they were nothing like those we have now. Elongated tubes wrapped in crepe paper and holding sweets...

I have been looking at photos of Christmas in Germany and Austria in the 1920s. Some wonderful images and very reminiscent of how my mother's tree looked. She clearly imported her memories of Christmas in Prague to England when she arrived here in 1941.

(I badly need those dolls houses!)

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 Post subject: Re: Christmas at the Chalet School
PostPosted: 24 Dec 2017, 19:18 
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abbeybufo wrote:
My father's birthday was 16 Dec, so we never decorated until a few days after that, so that his cards could go on the sideboard for a few days.


My husband's birthday is 15 December, and marks the start of Christmas for us. Although he has not (on Christmas Eve) got the tree out yet.... I have just reminded him, and he denies all knowledge of having offered to!

When I was little, the tree went up on Christmas Eve, and usually came down well before New Year (although not if my father had any say in the matter - he liked it to stay up for the full 12 days). It was part of Christmas Eve, putting the tree up, along with blanching almonds, peeling sprouts and potatoes, making stuffing, and the 101 other things that were part of preparing for Christmas. Along with listening to Carols from Kings (which I am doing right now).


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 Post subject: Re: Christmas at the Chalet School
PostPosted: 25 Dec 2017, 08:10 
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I was reading Ruey last night, and it mentions that the day after the play, which was the last Sunday of term, "Everyone went to chuch (as thought they didn't every week!). The two chapels had been specially decorated, and they sang Xmas songs."

It is as though the play inaugurates the season, and then they can begin to celebrate - though on a religeous, not commercial level.

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 Post subject: Re: Christmas at the Chalet School
PostPosted: 26 Dec 2017, 15:59 
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I definitely agree that the Christmas in Innsbruck chapter is how it should be. Mrs Gottfried has always liked to stick to the 12 Days of Christmas idea, so we put up tree and decorations a few days before the 25th and keep them up until the first week of January. I've never seen why one has to have a new kitchen, sofa, bed or curtains for Christmas, as the TV ads want us to, or why we have to book a holiday on Boxing Day! Yes, Christmas in Innsbruck in the 1920s would do me very nicely, thank you.


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