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Culture Shock #6 – in which our hero thinks Christmassy

You know how you always feel like Christmas is coming the first time you see the Coca-Cola ad on TV? Or the first time you hear Fairytale Of New York or the Penney’s ad on the radio? And you know how every year they get earlier, and privately you long for the olden days when the Christmas run-up actually started with Advent and you longed to be allowed open one of your Cadbury’s Selection Boxes a few days early, just because it had been a whole year since your last Curly-Wurly?

Well, it seems that the concept of Christmas shopping the day after Halloween isn’t just an Irish thing. In Passau over the last few weeks little garden hut-style booths have been mushrooming on the streets? and at the time of writing (two weeks ago by the time you read this) they’re already selling Glühwein (mulled wine), and Weihnachtlebrötchen, which are little dry slices of Christmas cake. Christmas shopping season seems to begin on November 11th. Grafton Street has seen nothing like it.

Of course, it being this time of year – and this being the last o2 before the holidays (what odds that the Coca-Cola ad is already on TV?) – the dreaded exams loom at large and frankly I’m doing well if you’ve read this far into my ramblings before going back to the library to swot up on sociological theory or something. As much as I’d love to gloat – ha, no Christmas exams, hahaha, oh how lucky we are! – revenge is a dish best served cold and by the time you’re being slaughtered with Union election propaganda in February I’ll be doing my exams for the end of Semester 1.

It’s the time of year, though, when home comforts begin to take on an added luxury. Suddenly simple things like a box of Lyons teabags, a copy of Q or the new Ross O’Carroll-Kelly (whoever invented care packages is nothing short of superhuman) gain the respect that they?re probably always deserving of. The playful splash of water hitting teabag or the cheerful guffaw brought on by the word ‘roysh’ garnish a new sparkle and the old adage becomes true – you really don?t know what you’ve got until it?s gone.

So I guess it’s the right time to say that if you’ve read this far then I applaud your patience; good luck with the exams, and enjoy your Christmas, whether you still think the Selection Box is as magical as before or not. Stay safe, and see you in 2007. Now run along, ?cos that coursework ain’t gonna learn itself.

Fröhe Weihnachten,
Gav