Friday, November 25, 2005
There is no Santa Claus. They do not decorate Christmas trees, nor do they give presents on Christmas day. They do not hang stockings or blast popped-up versions of Christmas carols through their department stores. They do not eat candy canes.
At least not naturally: none of these traditions is remotely Spanish. But all of them have been making inroads into cultural life here, one more example, for good or ill, of the globalization of American culture. Happily, the infiltration of American-style holidays does not mean that Spanish traditions disappear. They just get added on: more ways to have a good party.
The process, however, is not always seamless. Hence my amusement this morning at the paper store, when I saw the sign above, which translates roughly as "We've got the Christmas of Christmas." An utterly confusing phrase--are they saying that their Christmas is the best of all possible Christmases?--until I realized that "Christmas" is the word for "Christmas cards." How "Christmas" came to mean "cards" and not trees or stockings or candy canes or any other holiday-related import remains a mystery.