What with turkeys in the US coming down with a touch of the avian sniffles causing a ban on imports of the feathered gobblers to Thailand, a rampant war on booze and a disgraceful lack of real evergreen conifers, Christmas is in danger of being a bit of a damp squib this year.
Now, in order to get this nonsense sorted out, what I propose is a Minister for Christmas. This country has ministers for all sorts of sensible things. So how the devil did Christmas get overlooked by the government? (I use the word government clumsily.)
A Minister for Christmas would be just the ticket for injecting a bit of happiness back into the people – or whatever the actual wording is. Turkeys could be sourced from countries where they don’t catch colds, Christmas trees could be planted on land where people usually have bonfires and a glass of sherry served after midnight on Christmas Eve. I’m pretty sure the lyrics of festive favourite ‘Ding Dong Merrily On High’ could be transposed to the tune of Job To Do’s party classic ‘Do Do Do Do Ter Tam’.
Imagine if attitude re-adjustment was done by a police chief dressed as an avuncular old man in a floppy hat with a suspicious beard accompanied by a band of merry elves? Traditional Christmas games would take on a whole new level of fun in a room without windows. Hook a Christmas cracker up to a car battery and hey presto, a room charged with instant happiness, slightly singed paper hats and plastic toys and a crappy joke that is sure to leave everyone smiling.
However, it would not all be fun and games. One of the minister’s first jobs would have to be the introduction of a nationwide clamp–down on those tinsel signs above doorways that still say ‘Happy Christmas 2009!’ I have already written
a strongly worded letter to Bangkok about decorations remaining up after the twelfth night, but am still to receive a reply.
Thailand does gaudy so well. Imagine combining the already blingtastic temples with a generous smattering of Christmas decorations! I’m sure a Christmas Minister would have no problem getting a tinsel subsidy through parliament – it wouldn’t be the strangest thing to ever have been subsidised after all. I’m not sure what the Thai translation for the ‘land of a million baubles’ is, and my dictionary isn’t helping much, but it has a nice ring to it – if only for one day a year.
A Minister for Christmas could set up a sister campaign to Citylife’s ‘get rid of, billboards, digital screens and advertising hoardings’ in Chiang Mai by demanding that all, during the month of December, are legally required to feature fairy lights, effigies of Father Christmas and his reindeer, fir trees, angels, mistletoe, bells and baubles. The whole of Chiang Mai would be transformed into a suburban street scene from a John Hughes Christmas movie, and who the hell would not love that?
Think Park made a great effort last year – until the soi dogs started looking decidedly peaky after licking the ‘faux snow’ dumped on the ground and people were advised to avoid the local water supply when taking a shower – but an effort was made.
And it’s not just the Christmas Ministry that will play a vital part in keeping the festive spirit alive. The ‘Ministry for the Prevention of People Moving their Feet in time to a Musical Beat after Midnight’ has already done a fabulous job of making sure Christmas runs on time this year. When I was growing up Santa had rather a fondness for the sherry left out for him in our house. As all bars in Chiang Mai are now required to close at midnight it means that Santa and all his little pixies, or whatever tiny creatures are employed by the SE Asian subsidiary of Christmas Presents Plc. to deliver festive packages, can start doing their job promptly on the stroke of midnight without the temptation of “Just one more goblet of eggnog.” I’m not so stupid as to believe Santa doesn’t get some help, so keeping the Thai elves relatively sober on the night they have such an important job to do can only be a positive thing.
Obviously, before unleashing Christmas on Chiang Mai, and the rest of Thailand, in its full glory some solid ground rules would have to be set. I, for one, am immediately concerned about how close Christmas should be allowed to come to schools. Obviously any nativity scene would have to be several hundred yards away in case the donkey gets loose, and any trees with tinsel and twinkly lights on at least two hundred metres away to prevent irreparable ‘dazzle damage’ on young people’s retinas.
I realise that a Minister for Christmas, when not dealing with the odd letter from a young child claiming to have been a good boy or girl throughout the year and therefore deserving of the latest iPhone come the end of December, may fear a lack of things to be getting on with during the rest of the calendar. But there are holidays aplenty in Thailand that could certainly be given a boost with a bit of Christmas zing. The two big ones – Songkran and Loy Krathong – have already embraced the benefits of glitter and fairy lights. Perhaps carol singers for Labour Day or a family argument on the way to Doi Suthep on Visakha Bucha.
Bring on a Minister for Christmas. Anything could be possible with a Christmas Minister. If the powers that be can send ‘planes into the air to seed the clouds and create rain in April, then why not snow in December? Am I really asking too much? Happy Christmas and God/Buddha bless us, everyone!