Friday, 19 November 2010
#38 Christmas is coming, the goose is getting sadly replaced.
Britons bemoan the iterative expansion of Christmas. From one day of family cheer, nearly two months of commercial reverie has grown. Well, as the eunuch flasher said, you ain't seen nothin'.
My first winter in America beckons, and the simple truth is this: nobody does it better. It's all about the spacing of holidays. (And, I suppose, the bloodthirsty rapacity of unrestrained capitalism, but I'm picking my battles.) Halloween - which is about as big a deal here as the Second Coming - segues neatly into Thanksgiving, which serves as a teasing prelude to Christmas. From mid-October until New Year, middle America can justifiably say that it is 'holiday season', and stuff its collective face unrelentingly with lard and eggnog.
And here in the melting pot, it's even better: Hanukkah lights up mid-December; Chinese New Year draws the animalistic revelry into February. This year, our Muslim friends have come along for the ride: Eid-al-Adha just ended. Americans of every colour and creed face a four-month assault on their waistlines and credit cards.
I simply love it. As SoHo's normally exquisitely-appointed storefronts descend into sparkly gaud, and Halloween Reese's ads segue, almost imperceptibly, into Christmas Reese's ads, I tingle all over with excitement. I don't find the commercialism oppressive. Nor the pressure to buy gifts, or to bake.
The fact of the matter is, Christmas is the great leveller. Its trials; bustling high streets, far-too-small ovens. Its joys: family unity, carols, binge drinking,. They are the same, give or take, for all of us.
And it is the great regressor. As much as we try to be grown up about it - and I urge you not to try very hard at all - the excitement is childlike. Butterflies fill our stomachs faster than pumpkin pie. We fall head-over-heels in love - real, syrupy love - every time.
I'm excited. So excited I'm prepared to concede turkey's place at the Christmas table, after a long and largely fruitless battle in goose's favour. America is getting to me.
Let it snow, children.