Saturday, 8 December 2007

...more Christmas thoughts!

Finding out about the Gallo beer rooster set me to mulling over the commercial aspect of Christmas. So the Guatemalans have, cleverly, incorporated a religious symbol of the season into the branding of their beer, what have other countries done?

Well the classic one must be the US Coca-Cola company who have pretty well defined the image of Santa Claus through their Christmas advertising. From as early as 1930 a jolly red and white clad bearded gentleman has promoted their product. Clever stuff huh!

Britain seemingly obsessed with the main event of the Christmas Meal - turkey, roast potatoes and parsnips, brussel sprouts, stuffing, bread sauce - takes the Marks and Spencer advert to its hearts every year. This department store holds a special place in every ex-patriot's mind. Perhaps this food ad, which is so sensuous it's positively erotic, shows the British (not known for our sexuality or our cooking) in a rather unfamiliar light!

From the pagan roots of Saturnalia (17th December), Winter Solstice (21st December) to the religious event (25th December) the modern celebration is overwhelmed by the commercial cynicism of modern life.

I love Christmas. To me (a confirmed skeptic) it still represents the joy of family, the hope and renewal that comes with the changing of the seasons. My roots in the UK are well and truly tugged by the images of choirboys, log fires, decorated trees, tummy stuffing meals and Christmas carols. I expect you have probably realized that from the blog!

Sentimentality? Yes.

Maybe the further we travel the closer we get to home in our heads. In the words of T S Eliot's 'The Four Quartets':

What we call the beginning is often the end...

We shall not cease from exploration
And the end of all our exploring
Will be to arrive where we started
And know the place for the first time.

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