First Things First

I have written alot about Spanish holidays. Because there are so very many of them. This country likes to celebrate. It can be fun and it can be confusing. But there is one thing I find so wonderful about the Spanish way of celebrating holidays that I want to celebrate that! Here they celebrate one holiday at a time.

In August, the decorations and reminders for the Nou d’Octubre celebration weren’t out in stores. Oh no! They were busy celebrating things like Assumption Day and other stuff. This is a very ‘Live in the Present’ culture. Jeff both loves that and laments it. He’ll be doing a guest blog on that very subject right here very soon – stay tuned.

It didn’t hit me until we went to El Corte Ingles for lunch the other day. That sounds kind of weird with all the other lunch and beverage options in the city we would choose a department store, but their restaurant it really good and the view from the top? We love sitting up there and having a drink and some snacks and looking out over the interesting roof tops with all the church towers. It’s usually almost empty and kind of a secret – don’t tell anyone.

We walked into the bottom floor and what did we see in mid-October? A Halloween display. One that wasn’t there two weeks ago. And do you know why it wasn’t there? Because they aren’t stupid. They were busy celebrating, first Valencia Day and then Spain Day on October 12th. That space was taken up with other celebration appropriate stuff.

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I was so struck by seeing Halloween gear that I started looking around. When we were back in the US in September, Halloween (which isn’t until the end of October) was almost old news. The Thanksgiving/Harvest stuff was out. But what really struck us was that every store had their Christmas displays going. All except Nordstrom who refuses to do it until the day after Thanksgiving. But that means their employees work on Thanksgiving – a holiday supposedly devoted to spending time with your family – to put up Nordstrom’s Christmas regalia.

Yup. Walmart, Fred Meyer, Target and every grocery store had already turned the corner to Christmas. It makes every holiday seem like it lasts forever and isn’t as special any more. Here that would never happen. They seem to look at their calendars and say ‘Well, lets see what’s next up for fireworks and family gatherings and special food’ and then they go to the store and shop for that one thing. Everyone knows what they’re celebrating and they focus on that.

So there are no Christmas windows that snuck in before anyone else. Trying to complete for the attention of the population for their limited almighty Euro. No. And I love it! The pace of things seems just right.  Do one thing at a time and do it well, then move on.

It will be interesting to see how they do Halloween here. I have heard that they don’t do tick or treating with kids, but they do Halloween parties so we’ll see how that goes. I won’t lie. It was sort of nice to see all that cheezy crap piled up in that little space at the store. It’s been colder here lately so its starting to feel a little like home. But those masks and the big Harry Potter display did it for me. Time to buy some Candy Corn and Chromecast a fire on the tv from an app on my phone. OK – now it doesn’t feel like home.

 

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