Christmas 2022: It’s Not All Cake and Eggnog

Hi All, firstly, I know Christmas is full of grief and woe for many people. (Here’s a page with many worldwide HELPLINES. Please call them, they’re waiting for you.) Also, I know that many of our readers have another religion or zero religious affiliation. If you find the Christian religions to be hypocritical multinational business empire behemoths, intent only on raping the world and its people then you’re not alone. My beautiful Jin is an evangelical atheist. He sneezes, I say “God Bless You” he says, “There is no god”!

Christmas 2022 It's Not All Cake and Eggnog 1

Where I’m At

I was brought up in the Roman Catholic faith. Church as an infant/toddler, Nuns in Junior School, Jesuits in Senior School. The Jesus story has been inculcated into my bones and though I know it was written long after his death, changed on multiple occasions by a committee (often of unscrupulous, evil tyrants) and used as a herding tool rather than a teaching one for the greater good, it is so deep in my marrow. Jesus himself sounds like a pretty good guy, except he forgot to address some key issues in the Old Testament, slavery, sexual equality, homosexuality and a few others I can’t think of right now. Thing is, I love the idea of there being a God. That if I’m a good person then I can have eternal salvation. Just the idea mind you, in reality I think living one life and death being a full stop is good. Then there are the questions. Why would an ever loving God give children cancer, create pedophiles, rapists and murderers (many within the canon of his churches), let global atrocities continue (starting with the Crusades and working forwards) and let us so recklessly ruin the beautiful world we have been given.
I’m not looking for answers or even help here. Just trying to explain my dilemma in the face of mounting lack of evidence. Sorry to lay this on anyone who feels attacked or undermined by my thought processes. I’m just laying bare my struggle. Hopefully some of you will find resonance.

Anyway, I still love Christmas. That we come together and mourn death, then celebrate the renewal of life. We do it by gathering people we love, family, friends, even some people we dislike. Sometimes people we hardly know in an Orphans Christmas situation. We come together and replenish our bonds and links of humanity through shared food, stories, memories and proximity. Even the drama creates new stories to be told throughout the next year and beyond. Before it was Christmas it had already been ritual for millennia, we just added glitter, reindeer and song.

If You’re Struggling

For those who feel completely alone, cut off and adrift from the rest of humanity. I’m hugging you right now. Please take time now to organise SOMETHING for this holiday. It’s relentless and can push us over the edge.
Have something nice or special to eat, doesn’t need to be expensive, something you like.
Maybe, if you have the funds or want to be involved, go have a meal out. Yes, you’ll be solo but you’ll be enveloped.

If solitude is your favourite thing then maybe a ramble around your neighbourhood? I find walking a really good way to beat off the blues, doesn’t have to be far to change my perspective and mood. The weather, the nature, the blood pounding and rhythm of my steps all combine to elevate my mood. Nearby we have a few parks, there’s nearly always some kind of life going on. People watching is nice too if you’re comfortable and sip a cuppa.

Have a plan. The best way to cope with anything is to have a plan. Make sure there are a couple of plans in case one gets derailed. Best to keep plans small and achievable, seriously, have a few.

The crushing overload of forced intimacy and aspirational Christmas spirit is a lot to handle, even for the strongest of us.

Also, say NO. If seeing your family, friends, anything is not what you want to do. Say NO. You don’t need to explain, just say no. Write an email if they are bullying you. “I will not be coming for Christmas. Hope it’s everything you want it to be. See you in the new year.”

Again: Here’s a page with many worldwide HELPLINES. Please call them, they’re waiting for you.

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Our Christmas 2022

This year is the most low key we’ve done Christmas for years.

On Christmas Eve we are having a small group for dinner. There will be Jin’s Roast Pork & Crackling, roast veggies, cold chicken, salads and some breads. I’ve bought a supermarket Christmas Pudding and some Custard for dessert but I think Kath will do a Pavlova too. A few drinks, some cognac and teas to finish. Hopefully done by 10pm, clean up and off to bed.

Christmas Day just Kath and us. Leftovers, chill, TV.
Last year on Christmas night we put up on faceBook that we were heading to Club Parramatta for dinner. We ended up with a table of about 20 friends and acquaintances. It was lovely. There was no cooking or cleaning, a few bevies and we all just hung out together chatting and laughing.

Boxing Day is traditionally held at my BFF Kath’s family home. We eat cold cuts, make some fresh salads and put it all on buns. We swim the afternoon away and then we all go home and crash.

Christmas Perfumes

Even though Christmas in Sydney is hot I’m hoping to get a few spritzes of firm favourites Caron Nuit de Noel, Liquides Imaginaires Sancti, Maria Candida Gentile Exultat, CdG Avignon andL’Eau d’Issey Pour Homme Intense. Mostly these will be cool of evening wears. I’m thinking to wear some Annick Goutals like Songes, Eau de Sud, Mandragore and Nuit Etoilee. That Lolita Lempicka Eau L’Aime, maybe L’Artisan Nuit de Tubereuse and Neela Vermeire Creations Rahele and Pichola. 

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These are the dream wears anyway. Honestly, I’ll probably get super busy doing stuff and wear easy reaches like Shalimar and Eau des Merveilles Bleue. Let’s see how it all comes out in the wash.


For those that celebrate. Merry Christmas.
Portia x



39 thoughts on “Christmas 2022: It’s Not All Cake and Eggnog

  1. Dear Portia, you have crystallised absolutely everything I believe. That’s it – no need for me to say anymore, other than thank you and to wish you and Jin a merry Christmas and a healthy, happy and peaceful 2023.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Warmest wishes to you and Jin (my phone is absolutely convinced that he’s called Jim). Christmas is a time of abject misery for so many people for one reason or other. I hate a lot of the forced bonhomie and the ‘picture perfect’ family. We all know that’s so far from real life😉. I’ll just be glad to reach 27th as I’ll be doing a lot of hours in the car between 24th and then. Plus, we’ll have the winter solstice behind us, I love to kick that day in the ass and say good-bye and good riddance, I absolutely hate winter. Jeez, I’m sounding very Grinchy – but I’m not really 😉

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Quiet Christmas for us, just me and my husband. We’ll stay cozy, do some walking around the neighborhood, sit in front of the gas fireplace and sip some hot tea or coffee. Very low-key food for us. I’ll make some homemade cinnamon rolls for my husband and we’ll listen to some nice classical music. I’m with Jin on religion, but I do love Christmas, the Christmas carols, and the Hanukkah story. All the various religions have inspired some lovely music and I enjoy it all. We have a very small Christmas tree and I’m lighting a menorah this year in solidarity with all my Jewish friends. The rise in anti-Semitisim these past 2 years is very disturbing to me. I wish for a world in which everyone is loved and accepted for who they are. I’m grateful for all of you, dear fragrant friends, and I wish everyone a peaceful holiday and a happy new year. Big hugs to all!

    Liked by 3 people

    • Hey there RR,
      Your season sounds beautiful.
      Yes, the music of religions is some of the most uplifting and heartfelt of any. One thing I really loved while part of the RC church was being part of the choir. From Panis Angelicus to Joy to the World, I love so many.
      Such a good idea to light the Manora in solidarity. Thinking I’ll get one for next year and put it in the window, as long as I’m not breaking any of the Jewish rules or being insensitive. Hopefully we have a few Jewish readers who could give me a heads up.
      Your wish echoes my own. A world where we all respected each other. What an amazing thought.

      I am grateful that you’re part of the FragComm.
      Portia xx


  4. Wishing you happy times with Jin and your friends. And hoping the new year brings something positive for us all. I can totally relate to everything you wrote even though I’m at least nominally a Christian. What I like to take from it is the message to love one’s neighbor, try to live that every day.

    Liked by 3 people

  5. I always love your posts, Portia, and I love your love for human kind :) I was raised Catholic, too, but I can’t support them given their actions. And I’m not trying to start any fights: this is just my own choice and I respect anyone who wants to worship anything, as long as they’re not hurting anyone else.

    I love the fact that you say god bless you and Jin says there is no god :)))

    Your perfume choices sound amazing. I can’t imagine swimming on Christmas Day-that sounds wonderful! Normally we have snow but this year it’s all rain and freezing rain.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Hey there Carole,
      Thank you. It’s so nice seeing your name pop up.
      Yeah, the church has a lot to answer for and rarely apologises or reparates. Like so many institutions it has lost the ability to self moderate and spends a lot of its time on smoke screens and diversion. Half of the commandments still hold water though. If we all could live by them we’d be in a pretty good place.

      HA! Yes, Jin is funny. There are a few things that I say where he has a standard response and I fall for them every time, and snigger most times.

      Yeah, summer Christmas is excellent. When we had the house it was Boxing Day BarBQ & pool parties every year. Totally fun. Now it’s much more low key at my BFFs Dad’s place. Still fun.

      Hope you get some snow and it all turns into a wonderland.
      Portia xx


  6. Your Christmas plans sound lovely! The one Christmas I spent in South Africa, we had lunch complete with Christmas pudding then spent the afternoon at the beach. I thought it was wonderful!

    We will be spending the next 10 days at home just the 4 of us being quiet and cozy. I told my parents years ago I would no longer visit during Thanksgiving or Christmas due to the stress of travel. I choose to visit them for their birthdays and other low-key holidays.

    I will wear my traditional holiday scent, Chopard Wish.

    Liked by 2 people

    • AHA! Then you know the joys of summer Christmas TaraC, it’s very different. I’ve only done cold Xmas in London with sleet. One day hopefully a snowy Xmas Day.

      Seeing family at other times of the year makes absolute sense and spreads the visits out, good thinking.

      Wish is lovely. you will smell sweet and fabulous.
      Portia xx


  7. Wonderful post, dear Portia!

    I’ve been an atheist my whole life, but since I live here, I celebrate Christmas with my friends (none of whom is a Catholic :) ). I’m just partially Jewish, but I light Hanukkah menorah every day. And then we celebrate our traditionally biggest holiday – New Year.

    Since this year was especially hard for my family, we’re trying to make this holiday season as festive as possible.

    Merry Christmas to you, Jin and your friends! <3 <3 <3


  8. We are lucky here in the Nordic countries, there’s such a lot of Christmas traditions coming originally from the old Norse beliefs, so we can all take part in the celebrations one way or the other. According to my stepmother (brought up Catolic), the Christmas service in the afternoon on Christmas Eve is nothing compared to the Catolic celebration, so she and my father will likely go to church on Christmas Day morning. I’m still a member of our Lutheran church, but not very religious, so I don’t think I’ll go to church, especially with the mobility problems I have these days.

    Wishing everyone who celebrate a very merry Christmas! Remember, it is allowed to make your own traditions, if those handed down are too much to cope with. This year we are having a more low key celebration than usual, seems we all need peace and quiet and some relaxing days together. We feel blessed just to be able to cope with the energy crisis and increased cost of living.


    • Hey there Ingeborg,
      Merry whatever you choose to do.
      I’m sorry but this year no overseas Christmas cards went out. Suddenly it was too late for anything to arrive. Mea Culpa. Next year I’ll send out some New Year Postcards.
      Hugs and love,
      Portia xx


      • Hello Portia, I didn’t get time to send out more than half my usual list of Christmas cards, so gave priority to some people who have had a challenging year! I wish I had the energy to do EVERYTHING my mother used to do, but it is not realistic since December is a busy month in my department at work!

        Enjoy your Christmas celebration, so different from ours!! My sister just saw someone falling on the ice in the middle of the road this morning, so we just try to stay warm and cosy indoors this evening. I’ve put on traditional Christmas music, it speaks to the heart.


          • You know, my mother was a housewife (with a university degree) until my sister and myself were teens and our brother had started school, so she would find time for salting and hanging meat, polish all the silver and copper (I actually learnt that skill very early, too) and prepare all the traditional cookies. On the other hand, we never had those Advent calendars with a small gift for every day, parents now put a lot of money and planning into those gifts! So times and priorities are changing.


  9. Sounds lovely. I wore vintage Private Collection on Christmas eve (PC and vintage Wrappings remind me of my childhood/early adulthood Christmas holidays) and White Linen body cream the morning of Christmas and All That Matters in the evening.


  10. Hey Portia 👋
    Bless ur ever livin & lovin ❤️

    Ima Catholic educated K thru 12
    .. yeahhhhh Catholic High School … sigh …. always said if I could survive THAT BS, I’d likely be able to overcone anything !
    Been a “recovering” Catholic 40 of my 57 years, true story 🤚🏻 .
    Talk about PTSD ? LOL

    Anyhoo ❓️
    Thought that ur reflections simply hit the nail on the head 😉. Confident you’ve already been told [hundreds of times over] that YOU DEFINITELY have a gift for writing 👍

    Just found this site
    LUV it !
    Only wanting to relay my sincere “Thank You” … sometimes one doesn’t &/or can’t know when they have uplifted another’s Spirit 🙄.

    YOU HAVE mine on this day.
    Wishing you AND YOURS …. only …. EVERYTHING that brings joy 😊

    ~ Lu ✌️ ☮️


    • Hey Lu,
      Welcome aboard. so nice to have you here with us.

      Thanks also, that’s a lovely thing to read in the comments. Uplifting anyone is something really special. You’ve returned the favour tenfold.

      As to being a recovering Catholic, and I’m sure the PTSD is real from school. Good luck in whatever road you travel and wishing you and your crew the good stuff.
      Portia xx

      Liked by 1 person

  11. I like “evangelical atheist”. My father appreciated parts of many religions and used to call himself an “ecclesiastical vagabond”.

    Re this point:

    “Why would an ever loving God give children cancer, create pedophiles, rapists and murderers (many within the canon of his churches), let global atrocities continue (starting with the Crusades and working forwards) and let us so recklessly ruin the beautiful world we have been given.”

    I am not a believer now, but as a child I was brought up in the Christian Science church. They get round this dilemma by saying that if God is good and omnipotent – which he generally is thought to be – there can be no room in the world for evil in its many forms, therefore it must all be an illusion, like a bad dream that seems very real at the time. Or a dirty windscreen was the other analogy. Equally hard to credit / come to terms with, but at least it doesn’t give God a bad rap. ;)

    Also, they believed that God was both the Father AND Mother, which was very progressive for 1866 or thereabouts.


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