Sunday, 6 December 2009

Glasgow in Lights

I've been living my life in Glasgow for the past few months, yet have neglected to relay any of it on here. Very naughty of me. I will now vow to update this more often, which will be challenging whilst writing a dissertation, yet I have made the vow...

This seems a pretty perfect time to resume this blog, given that Glasgow is now buzzing with activity as the Christmas countdown begins. George Square is once again glittering with Christmas lights and the whole of the city seems to be under the magical Christmas spell. I love this time of year in Glasgow. George Square is arguably the place to be if you want to be filled with Christmas spirit, and I'm not just taking about mulled wine. What could be more Christmassy than holding hands with your best friends as you try to stable each other on the ice rink, or cuddling up with a loved one in the carousel as it spins you round and round and reminds you of those happy days of your childhood? Where else would a 30 minute queue to visit Santa not bother you at all, because the smile on a child's face as he leaves the Grotto makes it all worth it? How better to reflect on the true meaning of Christmas than being there for the blessing of the crib and admiring the beautiful Nativity scene encased in glass? There is plenty of cheap, mass produced and tacky merchandise around at this time of year, but visiting a place like George Square, where you are surrounded by people who share your desire for festive cheer, allows you to forget the mountain of work on your desk and just be a child again. There's no doubt the magic of Christmas does dwindle somewhat the older you get, but it's places like this that permit you that brief nostalgic moment.

Some may argue that this extravagant and 'glitzy' display distracts from the true meaning of Christmas Maybe it does a little, but as a Catholic myself I have to say that the glittering lights and festive atmosphere creates a happiness that is very much needed at this time of year, particularly as so many people are suffering financial hardship and employment uncertainty. I genuinely think people are thinking more about the true meaning of Christmas this year. Of course, not everyone is focusing on this being the season of Advent leading up to the celebration of the birth of Christ, but people are realising what is truly important to them; family, friends, happiness. I'm sure that the feeling that many of the children have when they meet Santa in his Grotto will stay with them far longer than the must have toy they unwrap on Christmas morning. The memory of your friends giggling as you fall bum first on the ice will still remain long after you have eaten the chocolates and drunk the wine you received from your 'Secret Santa'. Christmas isn't just about the glitter and the tinsel and it isn't just about Jesus (my priest may choke on his tea at that), not in 2009. Christmas 2009, for me, is about spending time with those you love, really thinking about what you have and appreciating it and having a little fun for a change. This December, I'll be spending more time in George Square and less time surrounded by books and a computer, making memories to last me a lifetime and sharing the Christmas spirit with everyone I can.