Thursday, December 18, 2008

Deck the Great Hall of The People

The novelty of Christmas in China is beginning to wear off. After about four of them it's all a blur of Chinese clerks in synthetic red and white elf hats, badly decorated fake trees, bizarro Christmas carol combinations on the PA systems (Feliz Navidad, or Mamacita, donde esta Santa Claus?, followed by Handel's Messiah - isn't that an Easter song? - Joan Jett's version of Little Drummer Boy, Herman's Hermits' Kind of a Hush (Big time wha..huh? for that) and the gawdawful Jingle Bells barking dawgs is a real life example.

Nothing much shocks me about it now, though I was shocked to learn that while all foreigners at my current place of employment will get New Year's Day off, Christmas Day will be bad business as usual. Nonetheless, in our grand lobby the other day the janitorial and "hot water jug hauling" girls were given a reprieve from their usual numbing duties to decorate the 8 foot faux tree.

It was kinda cute and funny. None had obviously done it before but they'd seen TV shows perhaps, had a step ladder and about 12 tons of decorations and lights all piled indiscriminately into two packing crates. Lights went on last, just after the decorations and the glittery garlands and tinsel. This caused some problems, most notably after they wrapped the base of the tree in what amounted to a small circular wall of garlands and tinsel that was so thick they couldn't get close enough to start putting up the bulbs from the bottom. So they began tossing ornaments up at random. Some stuck, some rolled off and a few bounced off and broke on the floor. "Hit the dirt! Incoming Santa!"

The guy on the stepladder was doing fine, though he worked pretty much on one side until the weight made the tree begin to tilt. All in all though it was a laudible effort though there's a troublesome bare patch that I'm almost physically itching to guerilla decorate everytime I pass it.

But I resisted the latest urge and going home now to listen to a homemade mix a pal sent me for my first Chrismas here. He entitled it "Merry Christmas from the Bottom of a Bottle." The title kinda says it all, lots of bittersweet stuff like Elvis' Blue Christmas, The Pretenders' 10,000 Miles, Joni Mitchell's River, John Lennon's Happy Christmas (War is Over) and my homegrown fave: Nitty Gritty Dirt Bands' Colorado Christmas.

Merry Christmas all.


Peter said...

Merry Christmas to you too Hjustin.

Matthew said...

I just enjoy the fact that my Christmas hasn't changed since moving to a movie and eat Chinese food. Though this year we're going out for Muslim Chinese food.

Merry Christmas.

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