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The New Zealand Railways Magazine, Volume 9, Issue 9 (December 1, 1934)

This Christmas Caper

page 46

This Christmas Caper

Some say that Christmas comes. Never believe it. Monday comes, rent day comes, and influenza comes. But Christmas! Never! Christmas explodes, it bursts with a bang. It is a bomb loaded with joy-germs dropped by Kingsflight Carnival from the “Faith in Frivolity.” At one moment the world is all strive and drive and splash for cash, and then—as if the finger of Festivity had suddenly tickled the World's ribs, all the earth's a'giggle. Stewmanity revolts against the Mutterdom of Man and the ways of worldy wheeze-dom, so that:

Caper Sauce.

Mortgagee and mortgagor caper on the festive floor; man and master in the revel, meet upon a common level. Money Owed and Money Lent merge themselves in Money Spent. Business worries pout and pore safe behind the strong-room door. Man recaptures Rhyme and Reason in the Christmas festive season. Daily Grind and Dull Routine, Dismal Duty long and lean, Weary Worry, Anxious Care, get the go-by once a year. Man lifts up his voice to roar, “In your hat!” and slams the door.

Christmas is more than a decimal of Duration, more than a crumb dropped from Time's short-bread; it is an emotion, a mental potion, a sun-spot on the brain. At Christmas you can have your cake and eat it too. The recipe is age-old, thus:

“Take a mindful of the essence of good-fellowship, add a skinful of the spirit of festivity, mix with a cup brimming over with the milk of human kindness, stir in a thought for everybody you know, beat in the best of your ego, add a spice of fun, a peck of philosophy, the fruits of experience, the spirit of freedom, the joy of Release, the essence of Life, the blessing of digestion, and the appreciation of what you've got (whatever it may be). When the mixture is well and truly made let it boil over on the fires of Enthusiasm. Serve piping hot to all and sundry—and leave the rest to Nature.

The Spirit of Christmas.

The cake goes flat if even one ingredient is omitted. Of all the flavours perhaps the Essence of Goodfellowship (which includes “a thought for everybody”) is the most important. For Christmas is Christmas only if it brings man and man together. Christmas is a kind of sentimental Who's Who for re-binding threads of friendship which have become, if not broken, slightly frayed. For every thought which prompts a present or a token of re-membrance
“The finger of festivity tickles the world's ribs and all the earth's a'giggle.”

“The finger of festivity tickles the world's ribs and all the earth's a'giggle.”

returns the sender a little slice of life buttered with Memory so that he partakes of a “return” of each course in Life's Bill o' Fare. And when Christmas thus has renovated all the threads of friendship he ties them neatly with the knot of Human Sympathy, without which Man's life is as bleak and barren to contemplate as a slate quarry to a schoolboy on holiday.

Why Did Robinson Crow So?

Even Robinson Crusoe had to add good Friday to Christmas to make it a success—otherwise it would have got his goat. He knew that you can't get that festive feeling by shaking hands with yourself and saying “here's how” to the scenery.

Even Crusoe couldn't do so,
Never man that ever grew so.
Christmas spirits won't rebound,
'Less you “shout” and hand them round.

page 47

Eats for All and All for Eats.

At Christmas the mind and the stomach form a co-elation. For it is impossible to maintain a full mind on an empty stomach. There ensues a meeting of eats and wits and a league of notions led by Santa Claus, Good King Wenceslas, Old King Cole, the two merry pitter-pats Hil Larity and Jovey Ality, and Holly Day—the girl who takes the right turning. They proceed to take the “sigh” out of psychology and the “lie” out of Life. The question “to spree or not to spree” is decided in the afflingative. Christmas takes the chair, and the Ideal State comes into being; a state in which the watchwords are “eats for all and all for eats” and “servings before self.” Voices are lifted and faces are lifted and song echoes among the architectural jiblets of the banquet hall.

Come sound the note of Christmas-tide,
And let it echo far and wide;
The soul is dead that cannot hit
The high spots, when the time is fit.
The goose is fat, as fat as butter,
It never made a better flutter.
“The time has come,” the walrus said,
“When mind and matter truly wed,”
For mental joy is better when
Uplifted by the abdomen,
And conquering the feints of Fate
Is lightened by the “middle-weight:”
Oh glad the heart which sings of Spring,
Of Summer and the sand-fly's sting;
But gladder still the soul that recks
That most important spot marked X,
Reposing fairly in the seat
Of joy, where soul and body meet.
So, if you'd favour perfect sport
At Christmas, mingle food with thought!

One Of The “Big Shots”

One Of The “Big Shots”

“The joy of release.”

“The joy of release.”

Christmas is all one to one-and-all. It is the everlasting All-addin whose lamp brings forth the “spin you love to clutch.” Christmas gives you a rare spin and a fair spin. One rub and up spring the genii of the Great Out of Doors, Sport and Leisure, Sun and Sea, Life, Love and Laughter, Road and Rail, and anything else you will.

When you rub for the Rail you win the rubber. For the railway is the real way for a roll away on a holiday. It takes you up, but it never “lets you down.” It trips continually but never “falls down on the job.” It romps home with a hoot and a toot, an easy winner in the Holiday Handicap.

It is as much a part of the festival as Desmond D. Duff, Gertrude G. Goose, Bernard B. Bottle, the brothers Lamb and Mint, and all the other merry members of the cast of that great holiday hit, “Oh, You Christmas!”

Home Sweet Home With Wheels On.

For the train is Home Sweet Home with the wheels on. You pile in and pull out and feel that you can cut yourself a piece of cake and make yourself at home. You can toss the merry quip, mingle with your fellows, and even sing, unless you are one of those bathroom barrowtones. The train is a whirl within a whirl. If not the centre of gravity it is the centre of gaiety, where the Christmas spirit circulates with the celerity of free beer at a banquet for bone-dust beaters.

A Puller of Strength.

Old black Egbert E. Engine is a puller of strength to the travelling public; but he is even more; he is a life-long friend and, although perhaps he is labelled Ab, you know that he is O.K. He knows that you know, and thus the put-and-take of mutual respect and affection whirls for a win, and confidence is created in a permanent way. Truly,

The great out-of-doors
Is yours
For the asking.
Solar basking,
Sport or leisure—–
Egbert Engine waits your pleasure!
Open sea or mountain snow,
Anywhere you wish to go.
Let us whisper secretly
Something which, officially,
We should not indeed re-tail—
Father Christmas rides by rail!

page 48
page 49
Suggested plan of Wellington station, 1907.

Suggested plan of Wellington station, 1907.