Ho ho ho! Christmas Markets are back

But the Covid menace is now replaced by inflation and an “energy crisis”

After two years of pause, Christmas markets are back in town all over Germany. “Stille Nacht” and “O Tannenbaum” are heard once again out in the open, and people can buy nutcracker figurines and drink Glühwein. No masks are needed anywhere, except, for some strange reason, in public transportation in Germany — but even there, the mandate is not heavily enforced. The whole “Covid” era appears to have come to a definitive close, and, in retrospect, everything seems to have been just some kind of bad dream. Did it really happen?

In fact, this is how it’s being treated by the media, as something that didn’t really happen. Many are talking of a general “amnesty.” In Australia, fines for people who disobeyed lockdowns or vaccine mandates are being rescinded. Novak (pronounced “no-vax”?) Djokovic is allowed to play again. Forgive and forget.

And yet, recentIy there were large protests in China, the only place in the world that still pursues a stupid “Zero Covid” policy and lockdowns, for reasons of its own which I ignore. While the protests are understandable, it was curious to see the Western media showing the protests and criticizing Covid restrictions in China, while for two years they demonized anyone who protested against similar restrictions in the West. They ignored them on the news or even tried to curb protests, and accused protesters of being “misinformation spreaders” or “conspiracy theorists”. What a difference a year makes…

But if Covid is out, inflation and an energy crisis are in. While Christmas markets are back, people are not buying as much as in previous years. Inflation is up at 11%, and the huge increase in gas and electricity prices due to the so-called “energy crisis” (result of a combination of bad “green” policies and the boycott of Russian gas) have put people into savings mode. Even the Glühwein seems to be more expensive than last year: 3.50 euro instead of the usual 2.50 or 3.00. But this is not deterring people from drinking a cup or two.

For the moment the atmosphere is festive, and people seem to be happy simply to be able to be in crowds again and, if they cannot buy too many toys and trinkets, at least they can always look dreamily at the stands. “Let us worry about it all after Christmas”, they seem to be saying. “For now, ‘tis the season to be jolly. Let’s celebrate!”