Get Thee Behind Me, Santa!
A Christmas Post
I'm not a workaholic so I'm all in favour of holidays. However, I do feel that they should be celebrated in a manner appropriate to one's inner self. They are an opportunity to be with one's immediate family and social circle, so I detest the way that certain festivals have been appropriated by commercial enterprises who wish to offload tat
A column in the Guardian
bemoans the boring ads shown on UK TV with B-list celebrities wandering around supermarket aisles shopping for Christmas
. The background music is generally cloned from nostalgic pop hits and the general hype seems to be out of step with the mood of the British public in general and we Guardian readers in particular.I'm so sick of this hideous Christmas retail orgy. Where I work we've been selling light up mangers and glittery Santas for three months now. Please make it stop.
- OneZero (UK)
Living, as I do, in a Muslim country it seems a bit churlish to complain about the Christmas advertising here, but so be it.
It's not that they ignore it, not at all, it the sheer zeal with which it's foisted upon you. Old JC and the nativity doesn't get a look in, obviously, but Santa is everywhere. Santa ice-skating, Santa waving from a miniature train, giant Santas trying to shake your hand in the mall, Santa trying to pack your bag in the supermarket, even Santa jamming in a rock band. Fair makes me nostalgic for a good simple dose of the predictable telly dross you've described.
- Des Demona (UAE)In China people don't even take a day off work for Christmas and Christmas puddings are not available, but still has been commercially hi-jacked in the extreme: Santas and Christmas music everywhere, and store assistants sporting Father Christmas hats for the past month. It's a bonanza of consumption even more empty than that back home...
Des Demona said: "....but Santa is everywhere." Here it's likewise, but mainly wishing everyone a 'Happy New Year'.....one year they will get the hang of it.
The story I like the most (please, someone, tell me it isn't true) was reported by a Christmas visitor some years back to Japan who swore they had seen, in the entrance to Tokyo's biggest department store, a three floor (12 metre) high Father Christmas ....being crucified on a cross, with a crown of thorns atop his red hat.
Ah, cultural misunderstandings, don't you just luv 'em!!! And as Eid el Kabir is on the 21st this year, I am still waiting to see a tableau of Father Christmas sacrificing a sheep ....haven't seen it yet, but I am sure there is at least one in this town.
- Leuan (Morocco)
Jakartass commented somewhat briefer than this:
You mean that you get the chance of listening to Slade's
- Merry Xmas Everybody
, Bing & Bowie's Little Drummer Boy
(watch it here
) and Wizzard's
- I Wish It Could Be Christmas Everyday
You're lucky! Here in Jakarta, where 90% of the population is Muslim, our major (French-owned) hypermarkets have been bemusing shoppers since the beginning of November with versions of Xmas songs by Kenny G. or his clone.
There’s no snow in Indonesia, and that’s got nothing to do with global warming, so where do Jingling Bells
, Santa and his reindeer
fit in? If Dasher, Dancer, Prancer, Vixen, Prancer, Comet, Cupid, Dunder, Blitzen and Rudolph were relatively indigenous animals, would they get slaughtered on the streets
this Thursday - Hari Raya Idul Adha
(the Day of Sacrifice), in a way that is suitably halal
of course, along with the goats, cows and sheep?
TV programmes also have local singers, popular with mums and dads, churning out similar Xmas muzak in almost acceptable English. Shades of the Black & White Minstrel Show
(a once popular UK TV show), given that it's so clichéd.
So, how do Muslims celebrate Christmas? Please leave a comment below or email me.
(If they're in California they can book restaurant get-togethers through this website.)