20 NOVEMBER 1926, Page 20


[To the Editor of the SPECTATOR.] SIR,—I am glad to see that in the Spectator you suggest that a beginning of calendar reform should be made by the intro- duction of a fixed date for Easter ; this I have always advocated, and not only a fixed date for Easter but a fixed day for Christmas, which day should be the nearest Sunday , to December 25th. We have Easter Sunday and iVhit- Sunday, why not Christmas Sunday ? I have mentioned the subject to many business and professional men, and nearly all have agreed that the change would greatly benefit the country generally.

When in 1921 Lord Desborough's Bill for a fixed Easter was introduced I wrote to him asking if he could not include the fixing of Christmas Day for Sunday in the same Bill. Lord Desborough replied as follows : " I have no doubt that your suggestion about Christmas Day would find acceptance in certain quarters . . . both Easter and Christmas Day would be absolutely fixed under a reformed calendar, and such a reform will soon be urged."

All or nearly all of the food transport of the country is ordered and directed, in view of the fact that Sunday is the country's rest day ; the shipping, dock-work and wholesale distribution is arranged so that a minimum of labour shall be required on Sundays, but when December 25th happens to come in the middle of the week, then in the space of ten days three rest days have to be considered, and those connected with the transport, wholesale or retail distribution of food, &c., know full well the great difficulty which we have to face in order to meet the demands of the consuming , public.

Now, if Christmas Day is fixed for Sunday as I suggest; • all this extra work, worry, and often disappointment will be avoided. We shall have a clear week before the holiday begins, and the distributors' business work, also the consumers' domestic duties will be more easily performed. Then there arises what may be called the domestic point of view—viz., the workman's employment and-pay; it is well known that when -

Christmas Day breaks a week much outdoor work is suspended till a full week can be put in by all the hands employed ; as a consequence, many labourers' wives - have to consider the matter of providing two Sunday dinners with only one week's wage coming in ; my plan would make this matter more easily attained.

With special reference to the alteration of the day from December 25th to the nearest Sunday to that date : Decem- b0 25th is the date on which we commemorate the birth of Christ, but that, according to the opinion of the very best scholars, is not the date of His birth ; April 15th is perhaps as nearly correct if it were necessary to fix a date. No one would think of suggesting that Christmas time should be moved to the spring of the year, but it should be remembered that there was a time when Christmas Day was kept in January, the alteration to December 25th being made when the Gregorian calendar was adopted in preference to the Juliein, which is still retained by the Greek Church.

I think if this question was now taken in hand by ow Chambers of Commerce and Trade and well supported by all interested in the subject, the suggested alteration might be made.—I am, Sir, &c.,