Life at the Lodge: 7) Christmas

The countdown to Christmas was well underway at the Lodge. Presents had been wrapped, guest visits rescheduled, party invitations sent, and the main house was decorated with colourful paper chains and a savannah Christmas tree in the corner.

The elves had done a good job. And that evening we sat together and ate a Christmas meal of curried chicken and rice.

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Life at the Lodge: 6) Summit

The weather is noticeably different here now. It can change in a matter of minutes, with the wind picking up, the sky clouding over suddenly, and the heavens opening in a 10-minute torrential downpour that sends everyone running for cover. The temperature is also a lot cooler, and more than once I have found myself having to sleep under a sheet.

Despite these downpours, the river continues to sink lower and Manny is now advising that we should transfer guests by vehicle rather than by boat. Even that will bring its problems, however. The trails and “roads” are rapidly becoming overgrown by vegetation as the wilderness seeks to reclaim its land.

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Life at the Lodge: 5) Commute

I wasn’t the only guest to have arrived in Georgetown. As well as the December rains, a stroll through the mall, second-hand radio broadcasts, and exaggerated television adverts reminded me that despite the near-constant 30-degree heat, Christmas was imminent.

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A Blueprint For A Merrier Christmas: Gifts That Defy Modern Consumerism

Despite the criticisms, the greed, the gluttony, and the rampant expenditure on unwanted or short-lived items, Christmas in the 21st century can still serve a purpose.

Though there are many aspects of a modern Christmas which are unappealing, and at times even damaging, it does not appear to be going anywhere any time soon, and for that reason, rather than fighting the festive mood, it may be best to embrace and subvert it.

What we now see as Christmas, the stress and struggle of buying presents, the financial hardship that inevitably follows a busy December period, the feasting on food and alcohol, it is not how it always was, and thus is not how it always has to be.

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2014: My Last Traditional Christmas

I have always been granted the title of Scrooge when it came to Christmas, but it seems that this year I am finally deserving of it. What’s more is that I am not even ashamed to bear such a name.

Whereas Scrooge went from cold-hearted Christmas hater to lovable Uncle, I have done somewhat the opposite. Obviously when you are young and innocent Christmas is a time of receiving shed loads of presents, getting fat on sweets and chocolates, and staying up late to watch films. Though there is still some of that to be found as you grow older, your mind begins to place the celebrations in the context of your life. Or at least it should do.

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