Archive for December, 2006

Merry Christmas!

We are sitting here on Christmas Eve watching fairy tales and television and getting ready for tonight.

Official Xmas Photo

This is our official Christmas 2006 photo (as used on our Xmas Cards) It shows us standing outside St Isidor’s church where we got married. The plinth beside us is the base of a big statute of St Isidor, which unfortunately, someone has stolen (only his feet are left).

You may be wondering about the snow. Yes, it is real, but it’s from last year. Today is in fact clear and sunny and quite warm. There is no sign of any snow either here or in the mountains.

This is very strange indeed. It is not totally unprecedented for there to be no snow in this area at Christmas time, but at this time of the year snow is very common. On the other hand it incredible that there is no snow (at all) in the mountains. The papers often feature pictures of disappointed young children arriving at ski resorts with their skis, ready for their skiing holiday – only to find no snow at all. If you were having any doubts at all about global warning, then you can put them aside now.

Anyway, for any of you who haven’t received a Christmas card from us yet (we were a bit late getting organised this year) Have a wonderful Christmas and a fantastic 2007

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Santa Go Home!

Anti Santa

It’s nearly Christmas, and we’re getting into the Christmas Spirit. We’ve sent our Christmas cards and have just decorated our Christmas tree.

Actually the tree decoration was a bit of a wrench for Markéta, who believes (along with the rest of the Czech Republic) that the Christmas tree should miraculously appear decorated on Christmas Eve – and not before! Sometimes though she is nice to her crazy Kiwi husband and compromises so that he can have the tree up for his birthday 

It’s interesting the differences between Christmas here and in other countries. Some of differences are obvious, for example the main celebration here happens on the 24th in the evening, and we eat carp, not ham.

Other differences are starting to become less obvious. For example Father Christmas/Santa Claus has never traditionally visited this country at all.

Instead the presents used to be brought on the 24th in the evening by baby Jesus, who would leave them under the Christmas tee while everyone was having Christmas dinner. No elves, no reindeer, no sleigh – just magic.

But perhaps things are changing. Everywhere you go, you can see the jolly fat man here – in shop windows, in advertising, even in the window of our local pub. Some people down the street from us even have a giant inflatable Santa which (thank goodness) they haven’t put up yet.

All of this is good news for me as I am quietly optimistic that I will get two rounds of presents this year. One from Ježišek, and the other from Father Christmas.

But for most Czechs it’s not good news at all. For them, Santa has no place in the country and his arrival here is hard to fathom as not only is Santa not part of the local tradition, but he in fact destroys this very tradition, Some children now think that the baby Jesus is fat, has a beard and wears a red outfit.

I suspect this phenomenon is driven by globalization and lazy marketers who want to use one campaign for the whole of Europe – or even the whole of the world. If that’s true, then these people are stupid. It is hard to believe that insulting the intelligence and traditions of people in this way is an effective way to generate sales.

The worst thing though is that some people buy into this stupidity and decorate their own houses with Santas.

Markéta has been angry about this for a while now, so she was really excited when someone did something about it. Have a look at www.anti-santa.cz. It’s a lot of fun. We’ll be supporting them!

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