Enjoy your holidays!
Actually, I just wanted to make a post to wish everyone a Merry Christmas. Of course with a self-made Christmas card. And then some thoughts came to the fore. 
First of all, Merry Christmas everyone!
I definitely don’t want to spoil anyone’s Christmas spirit and therefore recommend not reading further if you are easily unsettled by slightly critical thoughts. It’s not an anti-Christmas article, and it’s not meant to be an “everything was better before” article. It’s more about how events that were once of great importance disappear or change over time – sometimes without being noticed. Or that Christmas in Europe and in North America is quite different – or rather was.
The country I come from, Austria, has a longstanding Christmas tradition. The song “Silent Night” was not composed in Austria  by chance and is still one of our best-known export items. Our baking tradition is less well known, especially Christmas biscuits, but a recommended alternative to Silent Night.
As for all children, Christmas was of course also a very special celebration for my siblings and me. What is particularly well remembered is how our father managed to do it every year and make people believe that there would not be Christmas this year. Tension at its finest.
Past: When the Christ Child was disposed of.
The Christ Child? Well, until my puberty I never heard of Santa Claus – here in Europe, the Christ child was responsible for Christmas. In German, we call it “Christkind”. No idea what it should have looked like, probably something with wings on it 😊 I never knew if it was male or female (more female, an angel), how old it was, or what it looked like exactly. But it doesn’t mean the little baby Jesus in the manger. It must be a bit older since it commands a host of little angels to fabricate all the gifts. For us children, it was more of an abstract term, something associated with “getting gifts”. Even if those gifts were often only “useful”, necessities, like a new sweater or a warm hat.
While looking through an old box of photos recently, I came across this one of my brother receiving a chocolate bar for Christmas. The picture says a lot. What joy in his eyes – a bar of chocolate!
Present: What’s different since then?
Visually noticeable: more or less no more snow. In terms of content: In our geographical latitudes, communist East Germany was the first to kill the Christ Child. At least the word as such. Instead, the following term was coined (because the Christ Child was still in people’s minds): “year-end winged figure” (Jahresendflügelfigur). So never say that the old East Germans had no imagination.
What a word! Only later, during my time in China at the end of the 1970s, did I learn that you should no longer say Merry Christmas, but Merry Xmas. And then “Season greetings”. Kinda “year-end winged figure” brain acrobatics western style.
Around this time, Santa gradually made its way into our country and gradually pushed the Christ Child out of the vocabulary. Although the concept of “Santa drives up in a truck with harmful, sugary drinks” was never really popular, nativity scenes with ox and donkey gradually disappeared, at least in urban areas.
Certainly, also due to the economic improvements, Christmas in the 80-90s became more lavish for many from year to year: more expensive gifts, often on credit (strongly increasing inflow at debt advice centers after Christmas), lavish Christmas feasts (strongly increasing inflow among weight-loss gurus after Christmas). The Christmas trees got bigger and cooler and after Christmas, the divorce rate was at its highest.
Slowly the boring, ubiquitous Christmas music blare in the shopping centers was replaced by more meaningful music like. “Last Christmas I gave you my heart…” . You can’t get it that cheap anymore – unless it’s set with diamonds.
And we have lost something else in these peaceful times: the Christmas peace between the warring parties. Those days of peace during war did bring something like confidence to them. A brief pause to breathe and gain some hope. Our parents, who suffered greatly during the war, attached great importance to this aspect.
What has changed, however, is the behavior of givers and recipients in particular.
Last week I read that most children wanted a new mobile phone for St. Nicholas Day (December 6th) this year. Last year, cosmetic surgery, particularly breast augmentation, was at the top of the Christmas wish list for teenage girls.
Future: Santa’s Sacking
Now that the Christ Child has been dealt with and the Coke truck will soon be history, Santa Claus will not be driving his reindeer for much longer either.
What makes me think so? Well, Santa Claus is the very prototype of the Old White Man – literally. That concept has no future. A solution preferred by certain groups would be a female counterpart to Santa Claus. (It has undoubtedly been widely discussed). But feminism and Christmas? Gay doesn’t work at all, either way, no matter how you look at it.
But: A gender-neutral replacement would be a workable solution. Something like a “year-end wing figure”. Or, maybe even better, something like a Christ Child?
A custom here in Austria that is also about to disappear is the pre-Christmas Krampus run . Here is a video from 2010 that gives a pretty good impression of our custom 🙂
 Some time ago I was reflecting on how inflation occurs and what areas of our lives it affects. Christmas is definitely one of them.
 The song’s lyrics were originally written in German just after the end of the Napoleonic Wars by a young Austrian priest named Joseph Mohr. In the fall of 1816, Mohr’s congregation in the town of Mariapfarr was reeling.
 The word Krampus originates from the Old High German word for claw (Krampen). In the Alpine regions, the Krampus is a mythical horned figure represented as accompanying Saint Nicholas. Krampus acts as an anti–Saint Nicholas, who, instead of giving gifts to good children, gives warnings and punishments to the bad children. Traditionally, young men dress up as the Krampus in the first two weeks of December, particularly in the evening of December 5, and roam the streets frightening children and women with rusty chains, hammers and bells. This figure is believed to originate from stories of house spirits such as kobolds or elves.