Wednesday, November 16, 2005

Xmas/signs of an impending consumer holiday

So, weeks ago, I had been at the Corte Inglés supermarket (it stays open the latest.) Overall, the Corte Inglés is a strange, strange place, like a high-end Walmart: it has a stranglehold on the department stores of Spain, has supermarkets, bookstores, record stores, travel agencies, real estate offices (that sell buildings made by Corte Inglés developers, I believe), and so on.

Anyhow, a few weeks ago, I bought some nougat (turrón) and marzipan at the supermarket. I brought them home, and the landlady was astounded that they were out already, as, supposedly, they're Christmas things. As of today, there are large Christmas-tree-style ornaments hanging in the arches of the Plaza Mayor.

The largest marker of a Christmas-consumer winter holiday, though, here, is that they sell lottery tickets. Everywhere. Spaniards are crazy about the lottery. The tickets don't cost, say, a Euro or two; they cost twenty. And people buy lots of them.

When I was in high school, the nuns would yell at us to, "keep the Christ in Christmas!" They did not like the word Xmas at all. But I love it. Xmas, Xmas, Xmas. Anyhow, seventeenth-century Spanish monks wrote things like "Xianos viejos" for "old christians" all the time. Those anti-historicist high school nuns!


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