When Christmas Eve rolls around, Santa can just keep flying when he passes over Germany and Austria. The old fatso — unpopular for elbowing St. Nicholas away from the cookies and milk — won’t find a welcome here.
"Santa Claus is a creation of the advertising industry and Coca-Cola to further commercial interests," …."
"St. Nicholas was a man who helped the poor, saved
people who were unjustly condemned, freed prisoners," Schade said. "You
could say he was a forerunner of Amnesty International. Santa is much
less than that — just about giving gifts."
It’s hard to resist the Christmas spirit here in Munich. I’ve spent years working and living in an atmosphere where the essence of the season boiled down to how much money people spent in overcrowded malls. Until now I considered myself the ultimate Christmas cynic, and haven’t decorated a Christmas tree in recent memory. But this year, the large Benjamina Fig in our living room is decked out with lights and bird ornaments, and I’m actually preparing to make cookies for the neighbours. What’s the deal?
The Christmas markets, for sure: Colourful stalls, full of handmade and very traditional baubles, ornaments, and nativity scenes for sale. Sociable groups of people gathered around the stalls, chatting and laughing and consuming glühwein ("glow wine", or mulled wine), bratwurst sausages and roasted nuts. Musicians performing seasonal hymns on the streets — my favourite is a toss-up between the guy singing opera and the four french-horn players on a street corner. Everything is cheerful and homey, but when you look up you’re surrounded by magnificent architecture. The big dump of fluffy snow we got yesterday is still clinging to the trees, everything is clean and white, and the sun is shining. I swear I’m in the middle of a Christmas card scene.
I’ll miss my family back in Canada this year, most definitely; I wish I could bottle this all up and send it to them, so they can share it too.
Or maybe create a real snow-globe of it all so they can experience it in 3-D; and here’s the guy who can do it.