Especially stunning is the light display of pine trees and reindeer that decorate the big round point in the center of town. The first time I saw this lit up it literally took my breath away. I thought it was so grand and majestic and lovely, a great reflection of Swedish culture...bold but still a bit understated. All white lights reflecting two major aspects of life in Sweden...pine trees and reindeer! But alas, it seems not all Swedes are happy about all this! They feel it is too sold out to commercialism and too American! What provided the real tipping point was this beautiful snow globe that went up in a very swanky part of town. Apparently what had been contracted was not what was delivered as in the end, the Chipmunks, as in Alvin and the Chipmunks, showed up inside the globe and the display was a big advertisement for the film that releases on Christmas day here! Some Swedes were outraged, one woman even commenting that she felt dirty and used. Seriously? That is just crazy. Now, I don't like to bash Swedes or Sweden in my blog but in this case, I just don't get the outrage, especially in light of a couple of quirky customs here in Sweden. To begin with, what constitues Christmas in a Swede's eyes? About 2% of the population go to church on a regular basis so it's likely not the journey towards Bethlehem that matters. In fact, one weird thing that I've noted in the years that I've lived here is that nativity scenes are almost totally absent in the city. I've yet to find a Swedish Christmas card that mentions something religious. It's all about tomte (Swedish Santa character), snow (of which there is none this year), candles and darkness, (both firmly in place). There are stars everywhere but one wonders how many fine folks in this city understand the connection to THE star in the east that pointed the way to the Christ-child. So, again, I ask, what is it in a Swede's mind that makes Christmas, Christmas? Secondly, I find the whole objection to commercialism and Americanism a little ironic given that at 3.00p.m. on Christmas Eve the entire nation will be watching Donald Duck cartoons. I kid you not...this is a great Christmas tradition for most Swedes. So, I'm just kind of chuckling at this entire conversation. I find it funny that I love every single light and decoration that adorns our city and find nothing offensive at all about the beautiful snow globe that sports the Chipmunks. And I will be celebrating the birth of Christ come December 25th! Incidentally, it was moved from the swanky section of town to a lesser place about two blocks away!
|Look carefully along the red bottom...you'll see the ad for the film!|