(11 am. – promoted by ek hornbeck)
“The holidays bring people together,” echoed Amanda Kindler, a 17-year-old from Dix Hills, who made two new friends while on line for two hours. “We’re bonding.”
Oh, yeah, that’s BONDING! What a sense of COMMUNITY! Tell me, if you freeze your ass off next to someone for two hours, is it going to slow your elbow down as it rushes toward their solar plexus in an effort to make sure you get the last iPod on the shelf?
You rabid, easily programmed American consumers, faring forth at the crack of dawn like glassy-eyed lambs for Madison Avenue’s slaughter. I ALMOST pity you. ALMOST.
OK, not really. As a matter of fact, I’m going to put a hurt on your sorry asses. I’m going to show you what you’re really missing as you wait on line outside of concrete and steel Wal-Marts to smash your way through a contrived festival of greed and grab your very own plastic goods made in China.
Holiday traditions in Europe have endured long past the people’s remembrance of their original heathen foundations. One of the things that brought this home to me while I was stationed in Germany was the Cristkindlemarkt. Most of the larger towns have these, but the most famous is the one in Nuremberg.
The Cristkindlemarkt goes on for several weeks and magically brings any ancient German city that chooses to hold one back into a version of itself that existed in the Middle Ages. Indeed, there is much here that hearkens back to a time when the holiday was not Christmas but Yule, and the Lord being celebrated was not Jesus but Ingve-Freyr, Vanic God of the Harvest, whose earthly gifts would get REAL communities through the harsh European winter.
Wooden booths are set up in the town square, just as they were hundreds of years ago, all around the church. Hey, remember the church? Your Christian holiday is kinda supposed to be just a little bit about that, you know? 🙂
Local artisans offer hand made goods…
…and traditional holiday food of the finest quality.
For all that many of the goods are handcrafted and often cannot be obtained anywhere else, nobody is going at it assholes-to-elbows to find the best sales or grab the last plastic widget and pretending to themselves that it somehow “builds a community” to stand on a line shivering for hours at O’dark thirty.
No, not here. People are relaxed, sipping their gluhwein and noshing on a bratwurst or a cookie. The atmosphere is truly festive.
Shops compete as much out of a love of art and a celebration of the season as they do for the consumer’s eye. Venal greed and spiritual poverty are not part of this equation.
It’s not all about the greed to these people. No, not anymore.
The Germans have learned lessons about greed, and about what is truly holy, that I hope we never have to.