Pre-Christmas


Just like you, I am aware that each year the powers that be seem to inch the holiday season just a wee bit closer to September. They’re a bit sneaky about it too. In Prague, the buses and trams are half-decorated, as though preparing for a Christmas ad sneak attack. Weeks ago my local Tesco put up a holiday display of Santa chocolates. Santa! If the local store was interested in providing anything at all by way of food or drink, I am sure they’d be doing the same.

I have never been one to complain about Christmas decorations coming early. Oh I notice, and I do wonder when we’re going to start celebrating Christmas in August, but there are people out there who just can’t wait to whine about it. It’s almost as if it’s not Christmas season that’s inching earlier each year, but bitching about Christmas season coming earlier season that comes earlier each year. (whoa)

I like the Christmas season. It’s the only time during the winter in which my environment actively discourages suicide rather than encouraging it. In the U.S. Christmas is lovingly shoved down your throat everywhere. Television is one perpetual Christmas advertisement separated by the Christmas episodes of sitcoms and shows. Telling any doctor that you are going to a mall in December is grounds for immediate sedation.

Prague is different in that lots of charming Christmas markets pop up in town squares. These markets are an excuse to sell gingerbread and to drink alcohol outside. Additionally, it is a good venue in which to watch large men beat carp to death and then dismember them. Come December 26th, it’s all a memory and we only have the miserable months of January and February to look forward to.

If there’s something like a universal holiday band, with Kwanzaa on drums, Hanukkah on voilin, Ramadan on the oud, it’s clear that Christmas is the lead singer and it’s equally clear that his bandmates think he’s gone Hollywood.

In the Czech Republic the “official” start to the Christmas season is St. Mikuláš Day on December 5th. On this day Mikuláš walks around with his angel and his devil Čert and they distribute candy to good kids and dole out some serious retribution to the bad kids. Really bad kids get dragged off to hell. Somehow in there, and again I’m not sure, the Czechs have managed to work in shots of booze. I dare you to find an aspect of this holiday that doesn’t rock. Go on. I’ll wait.

When I was younger, the official beginning to the Christmas season was Thanksgiving. The day or weekend after Thanksgiving my mother put up Christmas decorations and we kids inherently understood that it was now acceptable to pester my parents for presents. I now know that this inherent understanding came from an unprecedented overload of subliminal and cognizant advertising campaigns.

Whether this idea that Thanksgiving was the official start of the holiday season is accurate or just my childhood perception, I do not know, and I don’t care enough to do any research. Nevertheless, this is no longer the case at all. And I’m pretty sure this is what all those Christmas season haters are really pissed off about – the murder of nostalgia. Or rampant unapologetic capitalism, one of those.

Who I really feel bad for is Thanksgiving. St. Mikuláš Day is strong and safe in the Czech Republic. But Thanksgiving is just as solid a holiday as Mikuláš. I mean, the whole point of the holiday is to eat, drink, watch football, and ignore the fact that you’re festively celebrating the wiping out of an entire people. And now, what is it? It’s pre-Christmas. Just an increasingly unmentioned speed bump on the rampage to Christmas, and it’s likely going to get worse. Pretty soon nobody will care about the poor turkey and the U.S. will have to start opening town squares to exhibit the open execution of turkeys to bring back some interest in the holiday.

But that’s not for a little while yet. So today gather with your family, forget about Trump, and have a happy pre-Christmas everyone!

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