Sunday 26 January 2020

Letters to the Editor: 'Keep Christmas simpler and remember its true meaning'

'Maybe we should all gorge less and enjoy the simple company of family and friends more.' (stock photo)
'Maybe we should all gorge less and enjoy the simple company of family and friends more.' (stock photo)

Well it’s Christmas wonderland time again, that annual pause for midwinter celebration.

The season of three wise men bearing gifts. The hope for peace on earth. Celebratory family gatherings, squabbles and rifts. A time when doctors, nurses, midwives, paramedics and firefighters work unseasonal night shifts.

Christmas as we know it, with cards and trees, seems to have become a mish-mash of a rather daft Victorian creation. A season which brings as much happiness as it does stress, distress and consternation. A midwinter festival which is becoming more ridiculous in its commercialism. Christmas has become wholly unspiritual, with reindeer and their keeper Santa Claus landing on roofs and careering down chimneys, scattering roof tiles all over the place.

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If I had hopes for everybody this Christmas, it would be to keep Christmas simpler. Make Christmas less about ostentation and stuff. Make Christmas less about humans and turkeys getting stuffed or wasted. Maybe we should all gorge less and enjoy the simple company of family and friends more.

So enjoy the midwinter pause. Rest a little. We shouldn’t worry if we forgot to do something within the tittle-tattle of the season, which has become a million miles from it primary incarnation – a feast, festival and season spawned by the birth of a religious leader into homelessness, with a manger for a cradle in a stable, a celebration of the birth in Bethlehem of Jesus of Nazareth. How far away from all of that is Black Friday!

Maybe this Christmas season we will all seek to find a reason to want less and give with more sincere kindness.

Paul Horan

Trinity College Dublin

 

A unification referendum would need informed debate

Since the Brexit referendum in 2016, the consensus across Ireland has been that Brexit will place the established EU principles of free trade and free travel in imminent danger and that the UK’s decision to leave the EU after more than 40 years was wholly based on emotion and disregarded its long-term impact.

The 2019 UK general election was symbolised by a rise of nationalism in Scotland and Northern Ireland. The nine parliamentary seats won by Sinn Féin and SDLP are significant because they contributes to a political climate in which delivering a referendum on Irish unification seems increasingly likely.

Having grown up in the Republic, it is impossible to ignore the desire of generations to see a fully united Ireland, and the prospect of uniting the island seems attractive in theory. But the question of unification cannot be purely considered in an emotional context.

The electorate must recognise the combined effort of the unionist and nationalist communities to be partners in the insurance of peace is the product of decades of political negotiation, and it remains delicate.

The electorate in the Republic must understand Northern Ireland is not self-sustaining and is subsidised by the UK government with an annual payment of more then £10bn (€11.7bn). The terms on which any referendum would be facilitated are not yet clear and I am not advocating any one stance, but any decision on unification must be both educated and informed, recognising the delicate nature of peace and the financial obligations which must be met.

Cillian Boggan

St Peter’s College, Co Wexford

 

Ireland would do well to keep Britain at arm’s length

I wholeheartedly agree with Tom Cooper (Letters, December 23). It would be absurd for Ireland to join a Commonwealth with Britain.

As a Protestant Englishman, I see Ireland as free from the semi-feudal monarchy and class-riddled society that is England. Ireland is a free and advancing society while the UK is held back by deference to an unelected sovereign and House of Lords.

Notwithstanding its colonial past, the UK has illegally bombed Iraq and caused mayhem in Libya and Syria. The best thing for Ireland in the near future is peaceful reunification in a land where every child can aspire to be head of state of a nation that has never attacked anyone – unlike Britain. I can be a Conservative voter, a republican and a historian too.

Dominic Shelmerdine

London, UK

 

The magic of festive season is with us once more

There is something truly magical that happens tonight.

He comes while girls and boys are sleeping. He loads his sleigh with presents. He shouts the name of every reindeer. They answer to his call. Their journey takes to flight. He knows he has little time before night-time turns light.

He comes down the chimney. He scratches his beard. He goes to work putting presents on the floor. He eats his wee snack. He is so quiet and discreet. Nobody sees him. He’s gone within a blink.

His name is Santa Claus. A truly magical night indeed. Sweet dreams. A very Merry Christmas to all!

Brian McDevitt

Glenties, Co Donegal

Irish Independent

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