Advent arrived last week and in expected fashion, Germany exploded in a kaleidoscope of Christmas markets. The Weihnachtsmarkt period is especially important in my kneck of the woods as one of the largest and most popular, the Nürnberg Christkindlmarkt, opened it’s doors a week ago to an estimated 30,000 onlookers. Sadly, the excitement of the Christmas market is slightly lost on myself and most resident Germans. Outside of Germany the arrival of a “real” German Christmas market is something to look forward to and signals the beginning of the Christmas period. Here they’re ten a penny. Walk around any corner and you’ll find someone thrusting Gluhwein and Wurst up your nose, while simultaneously attempting to sell you a nutcracker for €300. Sure, it’s nice, but if I wanted to crack nuts I wouldn’t use an overly decorative piece of wood. I’d do what any normal person does and smash them with the flat of my shoe or a hammer or my fists, whatever I thought of first. Call me jaded, but it still amazes me that by wapping some glitter, a couple of stars and tying it up with a big red bow turns an average piece of tat into a desirable €50 gift. At the risk of coming over all Scrooge, here are some simple ways not to be a Christmas tool in Germany or anywhere else for that matter.
Well done, you’ve managed to make your way to Germany in a coach full of similarly dressed festive clones. You’re standing in awe at the array of wooden trinkets and hoo-has with the smell of cinnamon and mulled wine in your nostrils. It’s all coming up trumps. However, before you even board a plane, hop on a coach or buckle up in the car to wend your way to Deutschland, do yourself a favour. Learn to say Danke and Bitte. They’re two small words, very simple, but without which you appear to be some kind of colonial hangover, tramping your way through one of those peculiar foreign places. It might sound hypocritical for me to complain about tourists, especially when you consider I’m simply one that decided to stick around a bit longer, but it’s my blog so bums to you. Fair enough, most of the people on the Christmas stalls in Nürnburg speak excellent English, but it doesn’t hurt. Also, stop asking for “sausages”, you sound ridiculous.
The Holidays are Coming
Whatever you believe, Christmas has been around for quite a long time. Generally it’s always in December and on a particular date. You can tell it’s Christmas by either all those lights going up, the sudden appearance of Christmas music on the radio or Santa Claus peering at you from every available surface. It rarely changes. It therefore bemuses me that people consider the arrival of Christmas to be imminent when Coca-Cola’s marketing department present their latest advert to the masses. Despite what you think, a delivery truck full of Coke does not mean it’s Christmas, it’s just a truck. Admittedly a nice shiny truck with lights, but it still contains the bog standard Coke piled high on pallets. The truck is not driven by elves or pixies and Santa doesn’t escort it like a special forces sniper. It’s driven by a nice guy called Larry. He might be overweight and have a couple of days worth of stubble, but he’s not Chris Cringle. Let him get on with his delivery. Stop attempting to chase him down the motorway so you can get a picture for your Instagram page.
Christmas Advert Addiction
Speaking of adverts, I may have been away from Britain for a while, but at what point did the unveiling of a new round of Christmas adverts become the artistic event of the year? The way people have been going on, you would think that Andy Warhol had suddenly popped out his grave, whipped out a long forgotten work and paraded naked down the street while wearing it as a hat. The only hidden artistic statement behind the John Lewis ad is that buying their Christmas hampers will bring temporary peace to your family before someone drinks too much and punches your slightly racist uncle. They’re not works of art, They’re adverts. They’re meaning is simple: buy more stuff.
I’m not Scrooge
My girlfriend went to see ‘A Christmas Carol’ a couple of weeks ago. Ever since that unfortunate night, she claims I’m Scrooge simply because I happen to have slightly longer sideburns than usual. She seems to think this is very funny…German humour I guess. I can’t see the similarity. Sure I’m mostly angry, obnoxious and I have a penchant for kicking Victorian paupers whenever I get the opportunity, but that’s mainly to help them make their way to the poor house. It’s actually a social service, if anything. Apart from that we’re totally different. Although I do like his snazzy looking top hat and his policies on Christmas day working hours seem quite reasonable. Plus that Bob Cratchett is a whiny arse, I would fire that fool given the opportunity. Yea, Scrooge seems like my type of guy. If it wasn’t for the fact he’s a literary character, I would buy that guy a beer.