24 December 2005

Merry Christmas to all

I'm sure it will not have escaped your notice that Christmas is here. In New Zealand, it's already the 25th, and here in Germany Christmas traditionally starts on the evening of the 24th anyway, when they do all their gift giving. In other words, as the song which has been relentlessly thrashed on German radio stations all month tells us: "So this is Christmas..."

Which reminds me of the main reason that there is a part of me which can't wait for Christmas to be over and done with for another year: the Christmas songs. Here in Germany, it's mostly the same songs that we in the Anglo-Saxon world know and love (to hate), which get trucked out from the beginning of December and played in a constant loop for the next 24 days. You know the ones I mean: Chris Rea's "Driving home for Christmas", the Beach Boys' "Christmas time is here again", Boney M's "Feliz Navidad", WHAM's "Last Christmas", countless different artists' versions of "This Christmas", Band Aid's "Do they know it's Christmas" and so on, and on, and on, until you get toothache. Don't get me wrong, I like Christmas music, but I can only handle it for about a week. In other words, I was over it about three weeks ago.

Though I've heard each of the above songs, and numerous others, at least 50 or 60 times in the past month, I have not once heard either of my favourite Christmas songs: "Snoopy's Christmas" or "Frosty the Snowman", and to be honest it's not really Christmas at all without Snoopy's Christmas, is it? Ah well, can't win 'em all, eh?

I saw on the World Weather on BBC World this morning that it is forecast to rain in New Zealand on the 25th. This did not surprise me at all. In fact, I'd sat down to watch the forecast muttering to myself: "I bet it'll rain in New Zealand on Christmas Day," and sure enough. It's been raining on Christmas Day in New Zealand for as long as I can remember. When I was a kid, it would always be lovely in the week leading up to Christmas and then rain on Christmas Day, only to be nice again from Boxing Day. Or at least that's how it seems in my mind's eye, looking back. Whether, objectively speaking, that's exactly how it happened every year is another story entirely. But in any case, apparently it'll be raining again this year. So much for having Christmas in summer!

As for Berlin, I've given up on hoping for a White Christmas here. It's clear that it just isn't going to happen. I went out earlier on to get the paper and it was so mild I wondered why I'd bothered to wear my coat. So, forget about snow, and settle in for the rain, which is bound to come. Oh well, at least my family in New Zealand and I will be celebrating Christmas in similar weather - as far as precipitation is concerned, not temperature, obviously.

Anyway, I'm rambling, and that was not the point of this post.

The actual point was to wish all who find their way here a very Merry Christmas. However and whenever you celebrate, whomever you celebrate with and whatever the weather, I hope you have a lovely festive season. May it be as relaxing as such events can possibly be. May your presents be good, the food be delicious, the time with your loved ones treasured and enjoyable, and your hangover short-lived. In short, have a good one! I'll see you on the other side.