Christmas is coming, the goose is getting fat, people on Twitter are doing festive display names and no-one can find the end of the sellotape. On the University of Sussex campus, the students that thronged the corridors for essay meetings last week have scattered. Lights glint amongst the branches of the Christmas tree in Library Square, the cafe is serving festive peppermint hot chocolates with enough sugar in them to stun a horse, and a researcher just announced to her empty shared office that ‘IT IS EMMYLOU HARRIS CHRISTMAS ALBUM TIME’ because, well, it is Emmylou Harris Christmas album time. It is difficult to be very Scrooge-like about Christmas when you work in an institution of higher education, at least until the marking comes in.
Thomas Nashe might, I think, have approved, at least of the sugary hot chocolate – or, perhaps, of the snacks brought in by tired lecturers for their tired students. Although he lived (of course) in a pre-chocolate, pre-Christmas-tree, pre-Emmylou-Harris world, he had (as Nashe tended to do) strong opinions on how one should celebrate Christmas, and particularly on generosity during the festive season. Continue reading A very Thomas Nashe Christmas