Christmas. Here in the Czech Republic its a time for men to turn their thoughts toward ... more stuff! For years we’ve heard the cry in the US about the Crass Commercialism of Christmas. Well, it’s not just an American thing, nor a West European concept. It’s everywhere.
The malls and shopping areas have been mobbed for weeks here. Christmas shopping is in full swing. They didn’t have to wait for Thanksgiving to be over to start thinking about Christmas. They don’t have a Thanksgiving holiday! Strains of Bing Crosby and Johnny Mathis can be heard everywhere, singing the old Christmas standards - in English.
The following was published in the Prague Daily Monitor today:
What makes Czechs tick? Close to two decades after the fall of communism it is money, money and more money – and good things to spend it on, of course. A survey conducted for Mlada fronta Dnes shows that Czechs value goods and services as the most important factors in overall satisfaction, followed by freedom and education. The survey conducted by Gfk showed some surprising results – for instance what do respondents who vote for the Green Party need to feel happy? The answer was not a clean environment but a high income and private assets. What do Christian Democrat voters need? Forget about moral values – they appreciate a broad offer of goods and services. The survey clearly showed that while Czechs do not like to admit it they are very much in the grip of a consumerist lifestyle.
Czech families will gather around the dining room table for their traditional carp dinner on Christmas Day. Some families still go to midnight mass. Most, it seems are just waiting to see what’s under the tree for them.
It’s not so different around here, after all.
For me all this means that I will stay away from shopping areas (just as I always did in the US). The gifts have already been sent back for the kids and grandkids. What did I forget? Oh yeah, Jesus the savior came to rescue His people from their sins. Thank you, Jesus.