jueves, 12 de enero de 2012

Christmas Kitsch

Christmas was almost 3 weeks ago, but the spirit of Christmas is ALIVE in Beirut. I wonder if it is because the Lebanese like Christmas so much, or because they cannot muster the courage to actually take down all the Christmas decor.

You know, the Lebanese don't do anything half a@@. When I drive from work to the Christian side of town, this is the vue that welcomes me home:

The red light in the square offers this breath-taking homage to Christmas frenzy:
And let's not forget the red trees that decorate all the lamp posts in major avenues:

But my all time favorite-that actually makes me feel at home (because there is one exactly like this in the roundabout near my house in Mexico) is... the human-size nativity scene! With little lambs with fuzzy, petable backs!

There is something very sweet about this excessive holiday decoration (and the refusal to remove it). It's like Beirutis are saying that this season is really special and they don't want it to be over.

It is true that for Lebanese (Christian, but also from other religions) the end of the year means not only holidays, but also the time when their family and friends visit from abroad. And a Lebanese friend was telling me recently that as the majority of Lebanese are not Christian, this excessive-over-the- top and lavish Holiday display is in a way a demonstration of "Christian pride", like a way of saying "We are SO here."

I have really enjoyed walking around and seeing the Christmas decorations inside stores and businesses. For instance, there is this furniture shop near my house where the Nativity scene literally takes half of the workshop (they added caves and waterfalls for a more dramatic effect). 

But the business who wins first price on my book of Christmas awesomeness is our friendly neighborhood butcher:

I mean, he leaves it on, even when he is closed. He didn't win my business, but he's definitelly won my heart. 

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