Happy Xmas & New Year to our audience

by | Dec 15, 2023 | Assistive Technology, Design, Podcast

Happy Xmas & New Year to our audience

“Rosemary and I wish everyone a great festive season!

It’s the time of year to defrost Michael Bublé, Mariah Carey, and The Darkness and sing along with festive songs.

I live with the anti-Christmas tune society (A.C.T.S). Yes, I live with the Grinch sitting in his dug basket, shouting ‘HUMBUG!’ This does not stop the Christmas spirit in my house. I still get the festive mince pies and mulled wine, put on Kelly Clarkson and Leona Lewis, and have a sing-along. I love to annoy the Grinch; I offer to buy him Christmas jumpers and put tinsel around his desk. He loves to change words in Christmas songs and watch the video of the Coca-Cola truck on fire. After all, it was Coca-Cola that gave Santa his iconic red suit in the 1930s; before this, Santa had plenty of colours for his suit, which were green, blue, and even tan. Santa is rooted in history through the Christian Bishop Saint Nicholas, known for his generosity at this time of year. He is known by many different names throughout diverse cultures; we know him as Father Christmas, in France as Père Noël, and in Germany as Weihnachtsmann.

As I have been attending the 12 Days of Christmas by Aventido for a bit of fun and, of course, to see what is new with assistive technology, I have been finding out some new fun facts about Christmas.

Firstly, James, who teaches us about Lightkey and ABBYY PDF reader, is diverse in his Christmas traditions. He has a Spanish Nativity in his house, known as ‘Belén’ or ‘Nacimiento’. These scenes are very elaborate and have a distinctive character called the ‘Caganer’. This figurine is taking a poo, and James loves showing him off as part of his traditions. On Christmas day, instead of a traditional turkey, I like to do lots of Spanish tapas, such as gambas (prawns) fried in chilli and garlic, a spread of meats, cheeses, Boquerones (anchovies in vinegar) with salted crisps, and any other things I fancy. I know that in Poland, they eat beautiful cold food on Christmas day as it is a day of rest, and all the preparation has gone in before the special day.”

Another tradition that was brought up was an Icelandic Christmas. It was lovely to learn that instead of Santa, they have thirteen mischievous Yule lads. They leave potatoes in children’s Christmas stockings as one of their playful antics. As a child, I always found an apple or an orange in mine. It’s always a festive time of year for a nice, festive orange. Mine are usually dark and made by Terry’s, LOL. It’s also traditional in Iceland to have a Christmas book flood where books are exchanged on Christmas Eve, and people spend the evening with their new books and eat chocolate. I hope they also provide books in a dyslexic-friendly font; perhaps Dr. Martin Bloomfield can answer that question.

One of the wonderful things about Christmas is all the lights that brighten up the dark, long nights. It’s also nice to watch the fireworks, which are usually set off to welcome in the New Year in Scotland. As a Scottish person, I was brought up to celebrate the New Year. The house would always be spotless on Hogmanay, a way to cleanse away any negative things before the New Year. We’d also wish everyone that ‘Lang may yer lum always reek!’ This is an expression of good wishes for everyone’s prosperity. Singing ‘Auld Lang Syne’ marked the transition from the old to the new! The tradition of the ‘First Foot’ meant that as a child going to Gran’s house, my dad was given a fresh bottle of whiskey and out the door a minute before New Year. As the bells chimed, my father was always welcomed in with the gift of whiskey. It’s also traditional to bring shortbread and black bun, which is a dense fruit cake. At New Year, everyone is welcome to the party, and you can go to South Queensferry to watch the ‘Loonie Dookers.’ Scotland is cold enough without plunging yourself into the freezing waters of the Firth of Forth, however, warming yourself up with a large dram afterwards is lovely. We usually have a good party at New Year and a traditional sing-along with family and friends, looking forward to new ventures.

As the Grinch always reminds me it is not always a fun time for everyone, texting to SHOUT 85258 and the Samaritans to support mental health for free confidential services.

Rosemary and I look forward to bringing you lots of new podcasts and blogs in the New Year. May everyone have a joyous Christmas and see you all next year!

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