Susan Morrison: All in the best possible taste
Ah, so the giant glitter ball that is the Christmas juggernaut is back in town is it? The city suddenly smells of gluhwein and sausages and the air is rent with the shrieks of teenage girls flying above our heads like a witches coven on a hen night.
There is no denying that it’s overblown and dare we say it, just a wee bit tacky. But does it not light up our darkest months with just a bit of fun?
It’s no coincidence that our ancestors huddled by fjords and sealochs here in the frozen North, looked about in the dark deep midwinter and said, ‘You know what we need here? A bit of a festival. Something to light the place up a bit’.
Someone, somewhere, probably suggested burning something. If it was the Vikings, it was probably York, and thus we got ourselves a midwinter festival of light, which became Christmas. Fortunately, modern technology means York is spared, which is just as well. Think of the effect on the property prices.
Christmas has always been tacky. The very first one, according to Luke - and he should know because he wrote down exactly what someone told him from somebody who wasn’t actually there but did know a man who told the oldest bloke in the village who had it from his great-granddad’s aunt’s granny - the nativity was announced by an angelic choir belting out Abba hits.
I’m guessing there was a celestial light show, because you’re not telling me that a host of angels doesn’t come with its own Beyonce-style million light bulb backdrop.
I made up the bit about Abba, since Luke notably fails to tell us what the playlist actually was.
Then there was that wandering star with the three kings in its wake. They turned up with the sort of shiny pressies a third world dictator would lust after, all gold and blinged up smelly stuff, which to be honest with you, I never really thought suitable gifts for a newborn. Sounds like an Old Spice gift set.
When I was a kid, Glasgow used to pride itself on being tacky. It still does, I think, but given its new status as a style capital, I think it likes to think of itself as retro, or perhaps ironic with a dash of vintage.
The lights in George Square can probably be seen from space and I am sure there is a special team who endlessly patrol looking for a random gap to shove another brilliant orange bulb in.
Edinburgh, I’ll grant you, was once more restrained. But like a late blooming aunty who suddenly finds freedom from a dull marriage, she has binned the old Christmas tree lights and gone in for the full LED, colour-changing, remote-control, disco flashing version, with built in Festive music hits, brought to you by Andre Rieu and his orchestra of thousands.