Christmas Around the World

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The Holiday Season (which began with Thanksgiving) is now underway. It’s December. And there are expectations that come with the season – not on my part, but on the part of the population as a whole.

To many including me, it means that some of my favorite food of the year will be served. I will avoid the crowds to the extent humanly possible and will buy wares on-line and have them shipped.

Saint Nicholas and his assistant, Black Pete
Different countries, different customs.

For children in Europe, there is the fear of Black Pete, appearing as if by magic, to kick the crap out of them if they’re bad. In the USA, there is no negro to accompany Santa Clause/Kris Kringle on his journey.

Is that fair? Some opine that it’s racist to discourage a person of color from helping the Jolly Old Elf on his rounds.

Black Pete, adds insult to injury by stealing back the presents that Santa delivered if children don’t measure up. In Detroit, Baltimore, the St. Louis suburbs, Watts, the Dallas slums, Harlem, and Chicago’s South-Side, Santa himself is often waylaid while ringing a bell, collecting offerings for the poor – usually by Black Pete.

22 thoughts on “Christmas Around the World

  1. PS: what dish would be the one you call your favorite of foods? I am pretty sure that my Aunt Sally could whip up some holiday treats that would help you kick this 'favorite food' habit of yours.

  2. Ok, so as to not beat around the bush, I usually avoid pie, but I really like either cherry or apple pie – a lot. That's not to say that I turn my nose up at pumpkin pie, banana cream pie, etc. I allow myself a slice here and there between Thanksgiving and Christmas. I'm sure that Aunt Sally could put me off pie.

  3. Stationed in West Germany for 6 years, never once saw Black Pete. Then again, the US service personnel tended to be a cloistered lot, spending the holidays on post, with American families, etc. We didn't assimilate well back in the day.

    Of course, the Germans for the most part hated our guts, and considered us as an occupational force, and that didn't help relations any.

  4. Her comment about the marketing plan of KFC in the 70’s, I believe, was a little off. I can attest to the fact that in the 60’s, if I were able to negotiate a release from the bar of a lovely young gal (the bars where the only place a sailor could find a female who could speak some reasonably understood English other than fuckie, fuckie, suckie, suckie – which was pretty much wat I wanted to hear anyway), they would ALWAYS want to go for fried chicken. The joke on the ship was, grab a box or bag of chicken before going into the bar, and you could have your pick of the gals wrangling to be with you. KFC just made it easier and cheaper to get the chicken, but made it harder to use it as a lure due to the abundance of establishments.

  5. When I was in the Fatherland, I was not encumbered by a military haircut. Being a German speaker (rusty now) with extended family in Bavaria and Switzerland, my experience was different. Well obviously because I rant into a German Santa and Black Pete on more than one occasion, which is different than the American Santa on base.

  6. Could I chip a tooth on her cheesecake? More to the point, could I use it to sand the bark from a mahogany log?

  7. I thought that you'd head for a church ashore as soon as you had Liberty, John, especially at Christmas.

    Lickin chicken in a bar then paying the bar fine quietly is hardly the thing that a young, red blooded American fighting man would do on a religious holiday…..

  8. Prime rib (with some horseradish sauce on the side) makes everything wonderful any time of year. But I'm with you in that it is great at Christmas.

  9. Christmas Eve = baccala. I don't use salt cod anymore – it's just too much work. I use fresh cod (less fishy) Not all parts of Italy celebrate the Feast of the Seven Fishes. My grandparents were from Calabria (Consenza & Cotanzaro) and they never did the full Feast, but we always had baccala.

    Here's my cheater's guide to baccala.

  10. So it's a bit like a cod lasagne? With potatoes instead of pasta?

    I must say that it looks good in the pictures (following your link). Mr. Adrienne will no doubt have a Cheeto appetizer…

  11. Did you miss me?
    Well I'm BACK! Who the hell is Black Pete? If he comes near any of my pressies he'll be blacker than when he started.
    Mince pies…mmmm, with brandy butter. Figgy pudding, with custard…mmmmm. Bread sauce – total winner. Now I'm hungry. Mulled wine and HOT TEA. You know where it's at, white wolf.

  12. Don't get me started on Aunt Sally's bad cooking, LL. I could go on all day bashing her culinary skills (or lack thereof). And yes to both of your queries above. Most definitely yes.

    Of course, all this bashing is behind her back. When at the dinner table, all I hear is 'Yum, Aunt Sally, this is great!' When it's clearly not. We're all cowards in my family. I admit it.

  13. Actually, on Christmas morning, a bunch of us headed for the strip in Sasebo. Downed a beer, and left them. I went back to the ship to help the guys eat the Christmas meal.

  14. Very interesting story. Maybe Black Pete will visit the Clintons or the Obamas.

    Thanks for sharing this!

  15. It's about time that you got back after your fancy lunch in Trump Tower, feasting on Trump Steaks and drinking Trump Wine. I have to guess that the food coma has passed.

  16. I thought that this could be a post-presidential mall job for Barack – Santa's helper. Since it's a European job, he could go to Germany, where they think that he's cool and work there.

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