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Transcript: A different Christmas
What effect will Covid-19 have on the holiday season this year? Our British columnist Colin Beaven fears the worst, though he also thinks some festive tunes might help improve the mood.
In the days when airports were busy, Christmas was a time for international reunionTreffen, Wiedersehenstreffenreunions. Friends and family waited for passengers to appear in the arrivals hall, trying to identify the person pushing the trolley when the door finally opened. It was all very feel-good, like the end of the film Love Actually.
With corona, such scenes may be limited to supermarkets this year. Expect to hear shouts of “Hooray!” from the crowds outside as shoppers come out with their overloaded trolleys. Not crowds of loved ones, but other shoppers queuing to get in, pleased to be one step closer to their own bags of Brussels sproutRosenkohlBrussels sprouts and potatoes.
You can see why having your groceriesLebensmittel, Einkäufegroceries delivered is such a popular alternative. Will the delivery vans be able to deal with the Christmas rushHektik, Trubelrush, though? A trip to the shops in person might be a better option. Better still, get someone else to do your shopping for you.
But not even that is foolproof, especially if you’re placing your order over the phone. “Four to five bananas” can sound like “45 bananas”. If you ask for three packets of crisps (UK)Kartoffelchipscrisps (balsamic vinegarEssigvinegar and onion flavour), you may end up with three packets of oven chips (UK)Backofen-Pommesoven chips, three bottles of balsamic vinegar and three bags of onions — this happened to one of my neighbours.
Before those happy airport reunions at the end of Love Actually, we see a school Christmas concert, with an enthusiastic performance of “All I Want for Christmas Is You”. The Mariah Carey song is a favourite at Christmas parties.
Some schools choose traditional Christmas carolWeihnachtsliedChristmas carols for their concerts — the kind that are sung in church, such as “Hark!Hör! Hört!Hark! The Herald Angels Sing”. Others prefer something that’s more fun and cheerful, like “Rudolph the Red-Nosed reindeerRentierReindeer”, or Mariah Carey’s classic.
I went to two school Christmas concerts last year, one for each grandson. One school chose carols, the other a less serious programme. The results were identical: at both concerts, the girls sang with equal enthusiasm, the boys with equal embarrassmentVerlegenheitembarrassment.
There may be less singing this year. To compensate, people could to swapaustauschenswap shopping lists by singing them to each other over the phone. It would be a new form of social distancing: social “distansinging”. And they’d have great fun rewriting their Christmas menus to use the mistakes that resulted — such as 45 different kinds of vegetables when they were expecting four to five.
Nice idea, but too risky. There’s no ersatz for writing out a shopping list and handing it over as if it were a letter to Father Christmas — the sort of letter in which children ask Santa to put lots of presents under the tree.
But what kind of tree? A fir treeTannenbaumfir tree? A spruceFichtespruce? Or something different for a change? A yew treeEibeyew tree, perhaps: poisonous but beautiful. Yes, I’ve definitely decided. All I want for Christmas is yew.
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