Sunday, November 15, 2009

We Need a Little Christmas

Yes, my dear friends, it is that time of year again. I expect that you are all aware of this because you have been barraged by sleighs, reindeer, and children's toy commercials reminding you of December 25 for the past several weeks. Now, as you may recall from our blogs last year, (or if you rely on your common sense reminding you that this is a Buddhist nation and, despite what Toys ' R' Us tells you, Christmas is a Christian holiday), Christmas cheer is not quite as prevelent around here as it is in the States. In recent weeks, the closest thing that I had to a Christmas reference was when a student wrote on a memory verse test, "And Jesus said to him, 'Get behind me Santa...'" While this fruedian slip might be able to be analyzed in a sermon, that is not the direction I intended for this blog.

Anyhow, there does exist one haven that endeavors to share Christmas spirit all around the island. No, it is not a local church or missions organization. Instead, it is, in fact, the retail giant Starbucks. Like the Yankees, Starbucks endures a rather mixed reputation. There are those who condemn them as the evil empire who has destroyed everything that was once good and pure about the coffee drinking experience. Then there are others who are deeply loyal to the five-dollar-per-cup liquid gold coffee. Whatever you think about them in the States, we tend to cling to any pocket of American culture that we can find here in Taipei. So, Starbucks, being conveniently located right on the way to church, has nestled its way into our Sunday morning routine.
And that brings us back to the point of this blog. Something very important happened this week. It is now officially the holiday season at Starbucks. Spray-on frost now christens the windows and a scarf-laden penguin greets you at the cash register. Coffee patrons warm their hands with the scarlet cups adorned with the white snowflakes that remind us of the far off places that actually have real snow. Much to Chris' chagrin, the light jazz background music that usually welcomes us in from off the street has been replaced by real Christmas songs. Since the Taiwanese are generally indifferent to the messages that these songs convey, Elvis' "I'll have a Blue Christmas" is mixed right in with "Hark! the Herald Angels Sing". I have to say, Christian-themed Christmas music is a nice change after all the politically correct tunes aired by radio stations in the States.
Another added to bonus to this Christmas season (brought to you by Starbucks) is the holiday themed menu. Two of our favorite beverages are now available to us, complete with the snowflake embellished scarlet cup: toffee nut lattes and dark cherry mochas. This may not seem like a big deal to you, but it is a highly anticipated event for Americans all over the island. The day that the menu was unveiled, ex-pats from all over the city called one another spreading the good news. Chris and I were able to enjoy this special treat this morning and, I must say, it did indeed put us in a holiday mood. Since Thanksgiving is Chris' favorite holiday and he takes it a bit personally when people skip past it and rush right into Christmas, I will leave you with a happy holiday message from across the Pacific. Happy Holidays, and Starbucks cheer to all!


ME said...

Jealous that you have Starbucks!

Alice Robbins said...

Amen Sister! I was in Warsaw last weekend and was AMAZED by HOW CHRISTMASY the Starbucks was! We only have 3 in Poland and I have been to two of them now! Wow! Also I am amazed and a bit frightened by the amount of Christmas junk is being soled here! I walked into one store and thought I was at Walmart's Chirstmas section. I have NEVER seen it like this before and it is not even T-Day. Okay so they don't celebrate T-Day here, but it was weird to see the decorations come out before Halloween even though they do not celebrate it here either, but I did have 20 kids come by this year because they know I am the only American in the area. Did I have candy for them? NO! I forgot! Too bad, so sad, maybe next year! They are really trying to be American while not looking like they are trying to be American.

Abbey said...

Good for you! That's a fun Sunday morning tradition indeed! :)

Alice Robbins said...

Yeah, that is what I said to myself as the self (HS) challenged me. I accually got a bit choked up as I read the article. He was part of Denver for so many years! How are you guys doing? What will you do for Christmas this year?