Christmas is a disappointment, or at least that’s what might be concluded from the cards I received this year.
I’ve often wondered what picture of how Christmas is seen you’d get from analysing the frequency of festive motifs or symbols depicted on the cards that we still send by the millions in the digital age. So I went through my 64 cards to see how often different images appear. Snow tops the list with 31 occurrences, hence the disappointment, as a white Christmas is very rare over much of Britain. Still, I suppose it shows believe in magic and approach the season hopefully.
Christmas trees (18) are the second most common subject followed by stars (17), then come holly and decorations (10 each). The nativity (9) comes in in 6th place – it goes up a bit if angels (3) are added – followed closely by presents (8) and churches/cathedrals (7). Evidence, if it were needed, that Christmas is largely a secular (or commercial) affair. Robins (6), Father Christmas (3) languish down the list, perhaps surprisingly.
Eleven of the cards were photographs, with snow (6) and religious buildings (4) the most common motifs. Two had no connections with the occasion, but were simply nice pictures, of which their senders were clearly proud.
So, whatever else we hope for at Christmas snow tops the list. But, if my cards are anything to go by, we do at last seem to have given up the longing for snowy trips by coach and four to cosy Dickensian inns.