The commentators in the televised commercial versions have referred to values and ideals such as peace, harmony, co-operation, community, and sharing. The timing of the event for the evening and the candles that are held create ‘magic’, that is, something beyond the everyday (although in future this may be superseded by mobile phone lights and apps). The event may have been taken over by large corporations and television networks promotional needs, yet the sense of magic, mystery and goodwill remains.
The high energy celebrations of Xmas, New Year and Chinese New Year are well placed in the season of summer, with the summer solstice, Carols by Candlelight and Christ-mas day celebrations offering space and time for reflection. In Australian we have taken these disparate events on board and created a continuum which has ended up being a wonderful celebration of the natural season in which they are placed: summer.(*2, *3)
*2. Tu B'Shavut (Abor Day or New Year For Trees that bear fruit and nuts) is also celebrated by some members of the Jewish community on 25 January. This fits well into this season when we are enjoying the sweet summer fruits.
*3. The only day I have not included during this period is the 26th January, the date officially designated as Australia Day. I have not included it as I remain conflicted about a day which marks the beginning of British conquest of the land and the colonisation, slavery and murder of the original inhabitants, being promoted as a day to celebrate 'being Australian’. Yabun, a celebration of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander culture on the same day, the smoking ceremonies that have recently been introduced around the harbour and the Vigil the night before, counters this somewhat. I have written more on this, Australia Day: conflicts and alternatives
2016 Postscript. While clearing the last of my fathers papers recently I came across an email describing one of his Xmases in the POW camps. I have uploaded it on Wordpress - 'Rusty' Rups' Xmas in the Camps 1942-1944