Christmas 'a sunshine holy-day'

Safe Cove, Lake Manapouri. - Otago Witness, 25.12.1912. Copies of picture available from ODT Front Office, Lower Stuart St, or www.otagoimages.co.nz
Safe Cove, Lake Manapouri. - Otago Witness, 25.12.1912. Copies of picture available from ODT Front Office, Lower Stuart St, or www.otagoimages.co.nz

Everybody must notice the unwonted atmosphere created by what we call the holiday season. The schools have ''broken up'', there is a persistence of urchin presence here, there, and everywhere, and the contagion of the hour breeds an anticipatory relaxation that is quite perceptible, save perhaps in the case of the shopkeeper who makes provision against an additional rush of business or the housewife who has holiday appetites and festivities to provide for. The signs that indicate that the holiday season is at hand are of satisfying variety.

The very shop windows have an appearance such as, do their best, they command at no other time of the year. Not the least attractive of these groan with viands of which the prevailing brown and yellow harmonies promise great holiday digestive feats, and remind us that the season which we associate with peace, good-will, and good cheer is upon us. The very postman is girding himself against the swollen burden of his mail-bag bulging with timely Christmas greetings. The schoolboy, released from his books, reveals no snail-like propensities in his morning excursions. Already he has forgotten all the good advice retailed for his benefit on vacation day, and has become for the time being an increased source of parental responsibility. The tendency at this time is towards a general, if temporary, departure from the routine that so nearly runs, from day to day, the very limit of the twelve calendar months.

And a very welcome, desirable, and beneficial symptom it is. The community becomes more human, more kindly, more philosophic, and optimistic in the holiday season, when smiling Nature is almost wanton in her invitation, and even the most grasping of money-grubbers must needs for lack of opportunity adapt himself in a measure to the general mood. The year is preparing to make that graceful exit which is ever its most impressive moment, and the rustle of its departing skirts may even now be detected. There is a great deal to be said, after all, for the opportunities attaching to a midsummer celebration of Christmastide.

The holidays provide an outlet for all healthy energies, a recreation suited to all tastes. They should be the health-giving time of the year, and their opportunities are not to be squandered or pessimistically neglected. Peter Pan, the god of youth, will reveal himself to those who know how to look for him, for he is at hand far more often than when there is a stage fluttering of urchins' painted wings.

Nature in her bravest garb offers rich rewards to those who seek her in a proper spirit at this time of the year, and the good resolutions considered so appropriate to a new year will be the more easily formed and translated into action for the real enjoyment of ''a sunshine holy-day''.

• H.M.S. cruiser Cambrian arrived at Port Chalmers from Wellington. She was boarded shortly afterwards by the Mayor (Mr D. A. De Maus), who cordially welcomed Captain Drummond and his crew, and expressed the pleasure it afforded the residents to see a warship in the port. The Cambrian was thrown open for inspection yesterday, when advantage was taken of the privilege by a large number of visitors. - ODT, 23.12.1912.