Pictured above is the way I wish France looked right now. Sadly, it doesn’t. There is no snow, and there are no evergreens, and there certainly aren’t any snow-covered evergreens. All of this has rather hampered my getting into the Christmas spirit. Rather than feeling ‘Christmasey’, I must admit to feeling rather Scroogey this entire holiday season.
Which just makes me feel even more Scroogey. I have, here and there, caught myself feeling in the Christmas spirit, but I am always quick to yell ‘Humbug!’ at a set of carolers or a passing widow and that usually gets me back in a bad humor.
In any case, I wanted to quickly share with you something interesting I’ve noticed during my second French holiday season.
Obviously, moving to a foreign country, I prepared myself to see different holiday traditions, e.g. here, Saint Nicholas is still the traditional dude who travels around on December 6th on a mule giving presents to the good children and letting his deranged sidekick torture the bad ones. Cool.
But they have Santa Claus on Christmas too.
And he has apparently lost his magical powers. I’ve always thought of Santa as a magic fat man in red who drives a sleigh pulled by 9 hostage reindeer who somehow shimmies down the chimney. Here in France, he is frequently depicted breaking into houses instead (and I saw one with a parachute).
Possible reasons for this include (but are not limited to):
-France has enacted a no-fly rule on Christmas.
-He’s worried someone would kill, cook, and eat the reindeer.
-French chimneys are tiny.
I did a bit of an experiment today on my way home from the train station. I counted Santas. I counted how many Santas were doing what. There were a couple of restrictions: a house could only be marked once for each type of Santa, but could be marked for multiple types of Santa, and no commercially branded Santas were counted (there was one for Kinder).
This is the category for any Santa carrying/using a rope or a ladder,
or otherwise placed to suggest that he is breaking into a house by less
than magical means.
This would be the category for any Santas depicted in, near, with, buying,
selling, renting, looking at, or being run over by, a sleigh.
This is the category for any Santa depicted only as a head, or as a full body
doing nothing, or doing something not relevant to the distinction being
considered e.g. riding a bike, playing the cello, stabbing a monkey. It is worth
noting fully half the Santas counted in this category were stickers in a window.
I felt bad for not including it.
There you have it. Not only are intruder Santas more common than any other type of Santa, more than half of the counted Santas were intruders. Thoughts?