Christmas is a unique time of the year. You understand it right when you spend these festive days in a European city. Each country has its own traditions and is a good time to travel to different parts of the old continent. The cities are decorated with every Christmas details the human mind has captured, while we are full of emotions.
December 25th is the most Christmas day and is surrounded by great religiousness. Both family and social or religious customs imposed by the time can lead you a step closer to God, to a festive meal, to a song, and a variety of other commonplace activities for some places. With the sound of the festive bells ringing in our ears, we will travel to the European countries with the most interesting Christmas customs.
The customs of Netherlands
The great Christmas enthusiasm of the Dutch revolves around Santa Claus and…
How Charles Dickens reinvented Christmas and the current Tory Government have removed Christmas. It is a pity that the Ghosts of Christmas Past, Present and Future are not available to visit The Prime Minister Theresa May and all of her Ministers.
The first benefits “fauxtrage” of 2017 is upon us, barely a week in. Harrumpher-in-chief Phillip Schofield decided that the best use of his time was to shake his head patronisingly at a woman who had the gall to buy two bottles of prosecco on her “Christmas bonus” – a pittance added to her benefits payments. This leaves the tabloids free to engage in their ceremonial monstering of someone who bought a tenner’s worth of fizzy wine while not being currently retained by an employer.
Moaning about the fecklessness of the poor is a national sport that predates the introduction of the chip shop – the patronage of which (“with my tax money!”) is likewise cause for public tut-tutting. “Would it not be better,” asked George Orwell in 1937, “if they spent more money on wholesome things like oranges and wholemeal bread or if they even … saved on fuel and ate their carrots raw? Yes, it would, but the point is that no ordinary human being is ever going to do such a thing.”
“Unemployment,” he continues, “is an endless misery that has got to be constantly palliated.” The disagreement on this issue is not on the misery of poverty and unemployment, but on the idea that alleviating that misery is a good thing. If the unemployed do not earn their money through hard labour, then they should be expected to earn through suffering.
Anything can be used as an example of the unemployed worker’s fecklessness. Fridges and microwaves can be used to suggest the poor aren’t “really” poor. The screed against the “massive flatscreen TV” is positively ubiquitous, which is one of those things that really demonstrates the kind of alienation from the realities of the consumer electronics market you only get among the middle class. I don’t even know where to go to buy a cathode ray tube TV these days, but I do know you can get a 43” flatscreen for under £250 at Tesco.