Frosty the Sandman
I have come to accept that some things in life are just going to mess with your existing concept of the universe.
Already firmly filed in this category are shops selling ‘vegetarian fish and chips’, water sommeliers, bags or pre-grated cheese, retail bags of ice, contemporary discordant popular music and Bjork.
Now I have to add a Summer Christmas to that list. It isn’t that I don’t like it, far from it actually, but it does certainly play with your concepts of normality and seasonal preconceptions.
As someone who was born and currently lives in a northern European country heavily influenced by the Christmases of Queen Victoria and Prince Albert, this is certainly something of a challenge.
Victorian Christmas Tree
It’s rather like the surprise you experience as a child when you realise that the Christmas tree so prominent in carols and cards was virtually unheard of 15o years ago.
The Germanic traditions of Christmas with a decorated tree, ice decorations (thought to have evolved into tinsel) and decorations was adopted in Britain as late as the 1850’s. By the second world war it had been deeply engrained in most north European countries as well as the wider world.
Prior to that, Christmas in the United Kingdom was much more about the ‘Holly and the Ivy’ – simple greenery being brought into the great halls of houses to ‘deck’ them, a tradition which was a carry over from the pagan Saturnalia, but has now been all but forgotten.
So, given this, it wasn’t unheard of to have seasonal norms questioned. The most surprising thing which struck me was that the stereotypical view of Christmas was so similar. Scenes with Father Christmas (apparently less commonly referred to as Santa Clause), snow, deep mid winter and frost all echoed the Victorian Germanic tradition.
However, I wasn’t prepared for some of the mind warping impacts of Christmas in Summer.
The thought of searching for Christmas gifts whilst dashing between areas of shade to prevent sunburn is certainly novel for me.
The incongruity of listening to Frosty the Snowman whilst applying sunscreen in 30 degrees is both amusing, and entirely brain twisting.
Who knows what the day itself will bring, but as a natural Christmas avoider (at all costs) the novelty and difference in the run up to Christmas 2014 has been refreshing. That said, whilst entirely welcome it was also challenging and thought provoking in equal measure. Stand by for the day itself!