Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Christmas doesn't work in the Middle East

We've almost reached November and for me the time it's acceptable to sell Christmas treats and put some Bing Crosby on has long arrived. Unfortunately, it's still close to 30 degrees outside and there won't be any mulled wine in this alcohol-forsaken country so I doubt I'll succeed in getting in the spirit at all this year. Some people wouldn't be bothered by that. Sadly, I am the biggest fan Christmas ever had. The thought of virtually missing it this year is a rather depressing one and I am not ok with it. In a way, my whole year is turned upside down with the absence of Christmas. A year without Christmas is just not a good year...

All year round I usually resist the temptation to watch Elf although I'd love that movie in May, it's that good. When I finally watch it at least eight times in the months of November and December it warms my heart though. It makes me want to curl up in bed with a thick blanket, hot chocolate in hand and all-year Christmas lights draped around a tree for these months lit. If I even watch it this year (yes, I will!) it will be in my room, by myself, sweating into my bed sheets and desperately fighting off mosquitoes. It's a Christmas dream... not! My Christmas movie playlist is quite long and I will have way too little time to watch them all. Let's not forget that I will most likely even be working on Christmas day itself. 

Worse than the bad atmosphere for a merry Christmas is the reality that it is in fact not even Christmas here. Yes, they have Christians in this country but let's face it, we are in a Muslim country and they simply don't care when Jesus was born. On top of that, "merry" is in the Top 3 of words I would not use to describe Egypt with. Christmas is about coziness, peace and family and I couldn't pick things that are less achievable in this madhouse than these. And as much as they shout welcomes they also will not put up a Christmas Tree in Tahrir to make me feel welcome. Speaking of which, I would actually prefer people to stop trying to make me feel welcome. I'm dreading for them  to switch their "Welcome to Egypt" phrase to "Merry Christmas" in order tfor me to acknowledge them or their shops. 

I admit that after last year it would have been very hard to get in the spirit as much. I was working at the Christmas Market, for crying out loud, I was oozing Christmas spirit every day for five weeks. All my day was for that beautiful frame of time was sell fruit bread while drinking mulled wine and entertaining foreign tourists with my beautiful singing voice chanting every Christmas song there was. This year the Mariah Carey Holiday CD is coming out, too, but I live in a hotel where those foreign tourists did not sign up for my singing. I will most likely have to shut up. Thinking about all my friends back home meeting at 5pm sharp to hit the Mulled Wine stand while eating a potato pancake could not be more torturing for me. 

Most importantly however I'm just a huge fan of being peaceful and relaxed because that's what Christmas is all about for me. Not only will I miss sugar cookies, the smell of a Christmas tree or a present or two but quite literally everything that makes Christmas what it is. It will be a loud, hot, stressful and annoying couple of months. Never mind that Jesus, the reason for the season, will probably fail to be mentioned all together. So the sad but true reality is that Christmas will just not happen for me this year. Looks like I was lying when I said I would not miss a thing about living in Germany... 

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