Hurtling towards Christmas

We are speeding towards 25 December, being sucked inexorably into the black hole of Christmas – that infinite mass of festivity and self-indulgence that you can only escape from if you are equipped with the Scrooge-on factor.

Usually I like to push back any feeling of festive excitement until as late as possible, but I have failed this year, not helped by the cold weather in late November and early December that made it seem that Christmas was here already. At work we have sent out the Xmas issue of the weekly online staff newsletter already and the Xmas party has been and gone. Christmas Day falling on a Saturday has pushed things earlier than normal and next week will tumble into Christmas at the end of the week with no chance to catch breath. I am doubly confused because I have just started a two-week stint of jury service, so I have already had my last day of work before Christmas.

I think my feelings of confusion were not helped by Dr Who warping my Christmas timelines. A couple of months ago I helped record some of the music for the Xmas episode of Dr Who and this must have caused some temporal entanglement.

Different countries vary in how they mark Christmas. I spent one Christmas in the Philippines and it is a very big celebration there with a big build up (Christmas trees can go up as early as September) that makes the UK’s seem feeble in comparison. I have noticed though that the UK build-up to the celebration has become a little more diverse in recent years.

Three years ago i visited Manchester in December and was enchanted by their Christmas market in the main square, full of gluhwein, Weissbier and grilled sausages, plus lots of little wooden huts selling gifts. Last week I looked in at Winter Wonderland, in London’s Hyde Park. As well as a big fairground it had various allegedly German-themed entertainments, plus gluhwein, Weissbier and grilled sausages, plus lots of little wooden huts selling gifts. In my corner of London, East Finchley, last month we had a small visiting French market that offered grilled sausages, vin chaud(!) and a few stalls selling gifts. Three weeks ago, in an effort to get still more diversity into my Christmas build-up, I visited Brussells, attracted by the promise of a big Christmas market. Imagine my delight to discover so many stalls selling gluhwein, Weissbier and grilled sausages plus many little huts selling gifts.

It’s great that we have so much diversity now, I see adverts for Birmingham’s “Frankfurt Christmas market”. I was tempted to make a trip to visit it but I have a strange premonition about what I will find there…

About Frank Norman

I am a librarian in a biomedical research institute. I've been around a few years, long enough to know that exciting new things fall into the same familiar patterns. I'm interested in navigating a path for libraries as we move further from print to electronic resources to open research, and become more embedded in research workflows.
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7 Responses to Hurtling towards Christmas

  1. Cath@VWXYNot? says:

    I believe the Vancouver version is a “family friendly” (i.e. dry) event. Which is different, at least.

    (You’ll notice I say “I believe” in a way that suggests I’ve never set foot in the place)

  2. Bob O'H says:

    I’m not sure I’ve seen Weissbier on sale in the Christmas markets in Frankfurt. Actually, there aren’t so many sausages either – largely because they’re on sale all over the place anyway.

  3. Frank says:

    Bob – that makes sense. I think I will organise a Birmingham Xmas market to take out to Frankfurt next year.

    Cath – isn’t it a bit cold to be standing around at an outside market in midwinter? Or is that the wrong part of Canada?

  4. Cath@VWXYNot? says:

    It’s currently 6C here, which is just about normal for this time of year. It occasionally gets very cold (it hit -15 for a few days a couple of weeks ago), and we occasionally get a decent amount of snow. But normally the rest of Canada just laughs at our pitiful winters and our pathetic attempts to deal with the cold and snow we do get (just ask Ricardipus)

  5. steffi suhr says:

    Hi Frank, maybe you should come for a visit to Lüneburg – we have Glühwein, Bier, grilled sausages, lots of little wooden huts selling gifts and some stands with Greek specialties in beautiful historical surroundings.

    The “German Christmas market” thing was just starting in Colorado when we moved away.

    …wait a minute, you took part in a Dr Who recording!?!

  6. Frank says:

    Steffi – that sounds totally original! But … Greek specialities?

    Yes, the choir I sing in takes on all kinds of bookings, including Dr Who. See our press release.

  7. Linda says:

    Yum. I like the Brussels & Luneburg response.

    I’m not used to having Christmas in the summer like the Australians. I usually expect it to come in mid July with the hit of winter down here. I still get confused by the seasons. It doesn’t really help that malls prematurely put up decorations and play Xmas carols in Oct/Nov. (Aussies don’t really celebrate Hallowe’en or Thanksgiving. I thought it was appalling that kids don’t go trick-or-treating here, but maybe that was a North American thing.) Usually when the carols start, it’s like o lovely. 2 months of this when I shop for groceries.

    Cath, Vancouver winters are just the right amount of pitiful. (Vancouver’s response to snow can be a joke). 2 years ago when I back for the holidays I caught the White Xmas all across Canada (a mari ad mare ad mare). It snowed 2-3 weeks straight, I was totally over the snow after 3 days.