Well, summer is well and truly here. And it's really not helping me get into the festive spirit (and being a big lover of Christmas, I'm kind of sad about this). Sure, all the necessities are there - typical Christmas music playing in every shop and cafe, beautiful Christmas trees and lights adorning the town, and walking into my local supermarket is akin to entering the home of an overexcited, drunk elf. But it all seems...wrong somehow. I seem to have a major psychological block when it comes to marrying the sweltering temperatures (upwards of 25 degrees) and the fact my favourite time of the year is on its way.
What has struck me as strange is that, even though the current temperatures are calling for sunglasses, flip-flops, and bikinis, Christmas is still being sold as a winter holiday. The Starbucks here is offering its 'warming winter flavours' (including cinnamon, apple, and dark cherry) served in festive cups decorated with snowflakes. The songs are referencing snow, the comfort of a warm fire, and the fact it's cold outside. I see big polystyrene snowmen standing on bunches of cotton wool. And Santa, whose face is everywhere at the moment, is donning his winter furs.
I guess that's the natural consequences of globalisation. The world is becoming a smaller place, and it is harder and harder for anyone to escape the assimilation of cultures. In many ways it's great, but can sometimes result in certain traditions and ideals being superimposed onto places and cultures where it makes no sense. It would be lovely to see a 'summer' version of Christmas, instead of this pretence that we're living in deepest Siberia, but I suppose the 'ideal' Christmas is just too entrenched on the global brain now for that ever to happen.
Last year, spending Christmas in Germany, the mother of many Christmas traditions, was wonderful. Going to the beautiful and bustling markets having a numb face and decked in gloves and a scarf made drinking a hot Gluehwein next to the huge Christmas tree an almost magical experience. But here, dressed in shorts and a t-shirt making my way to the beach and licking an ice-cream, no amount of snowmen, renditions of 'let it snow', or fake snowflakes in the shop windows are going to make me want to buy a dark cherry mocha in a festive cup.