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  #41  
Old 24.10.2011, 11:44
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Re: SamiKlaus and his dark friend??

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Until fairly recently, Santa Claus including his trademark outfit was something the Swiss (and most continental Europeans) knew only from TV and Hollywood. Santa has been forced upon us in the last two decades or so, and the result often is a strange mixture of Santa and Samichlaus.
Forced upon you? Santa has been around since the 1800s so why only in the last two decades? Nobody has to do anything they don't want to. I don't do gifts, but I do give my daughter one gift at xmas. I'd prefer to celebrate festivus with a pole, but that's a bit harder to explain to teachers, etc. so I just go with the flow.
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Old 24.10.2011, 11:47
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Re: SamiKlaus and his dark friend??

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Treverus - you can groan all you like, but I was making a point about whether or not it is good to reinforce serious negative racial stereotypes from such an early age and in connection with such a family friendly festival.

I'm more than happy for you to disagree or debate it, but sending a photo of one mask from one festival and asking if I think it looks like an African, or what I would wish the devil to look like is slightly missing the point - I think.
I guess you are just trolling, but for the sake of it:

- you jump into this thread on Samichlaus and his "dark friend" and scream "racism". You talk about some old BBC programs, blackface and a lot of other racist stuff that has absolutely zero to do with the topic.

- I keep on explaining you the topic and that there is in my eyes no racism at all in the Swiss tradition. They guy is black cause he is a demon.

- You are not only absolutely ignoring any facts that are in the way of your racism theory, you are increasingly smug and arrogant about your non-existing points.

So just to make it clear: I don't groan at people cause they have a different opinion. I groaned at you for your smug remarks and continuous ignorance.

Just that you know: I live in an interracial marriage and had my fair share of racism. So it isn't a topic I take lightly at all. But that's the point: If you shout racism all the time for absolutely no reason, people will not care anymore when there is actually a point to make. Calling Samichlaus racist is plainly stupid.
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Old 24.10.2011, 11:50
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Re: SamiKlaus and his dark friend??

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Forced upon you? Santa has been around since the 1800s so why only in the last two decades? Nobody has to do anything they don't want to. I don't do gifts, but I do give my daughter one gift at xmas. I'd prefer to celebrate festivus with a pole, but that's a bit harder to explain to teachers, etc. so I just go with the flow.
It is actually only in the last two decades because that's the time frame we have cable TV. I have never heard of Santa as a kid in the 80s. Today, a child cannot watch any TV in December without seeing him in any of the hundreds of imported programs. Kids see huge piles of presents on TV, see Santa come down the chimney, all the reindeer and elves stuff. You cannot help seeing it.
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Old 24.10.2011, 11:57
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Re: SamiKlaus and his dark friend??

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I guess you are just trolling, but for the sake of it:

- you jump into this thread on Samichlaus and his "dark friend" and scream "racism". You talk about some old BBC programs, blackface and a lot of other racist stuff that has absolutely zero to do with the topic.

- I keep on explaining you the topic and that there is in my eyes no racism at all in the Swiss tradition. They guy is black cause he is a demon.

- You are not only absolutely ignoring any facts that are in the way of your racism theory, you are increasingly smug and arrogant about your non-existing points.

So just to make it clear: I don't groan at people cause they have a different opinion. I groaned at you for your smug remarks and continuous ignorance.

Just that you know: I live in an interracial marriage and had my fair share of racism. So it isn't a topic I take lightly at all. But that's the point: If you shout racism all the time for absolutely no reason, people will not care anymore when there is actually a point to make. Calling Samichlaus racist is plainly stupid.
I apologise - I didn't mean to be smug and I certainly wasn't trolling. Its just something I take very seriously and I have a "zero tolerance" to this sort of "its ok because its traditional" attitude.

But you make your point clearly about Switzerland and its tradition

Thanks
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  #45  
Old 24.10.2011, 11:59
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Re: SamiKlaus and his dark friend??

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It is actually only in the last two decades because that's the time frame we have cable TV. I have never heard of Santa as a kid in the 80s. Today, a child cannot watch any TV in December without seeing him in any of the hundreds of imported programs. Kids see huge piles of presents on TV, see Santa come down the chimney, all the reindeer and elves stuff. You cannot help seeing it.
Well, are you and/or your children being forced at gunpoint to watch US/UK TV programmes? Is Santa only in US/UK movies and serials? I'd like to think you have a choice when it comes to entertainment as I certainly do. Why is the US to blame for this? If you don't like it, don't watch it, end of problem. I don't sit my child down in front of some christian programming and then complain when she asks uncomfortable questions about the guy in the robe....
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Old 24.10.2011, 12:34
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Re: SamiKlaus and his dark friend??

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Well, are you and/or your children being forced at gunpoint to watch US/UK TV programmes? Is Santa only in US/UK movies and serials? I'd like to think you have a choice when it comes to entertainment as I certainly do. Why is the US to blame for this? If you don't like it, don't watch it, end of problem. I don't sit my child down in front of some christian programming and then complain when she asks uncomfortable questions about the guy in the robe....
It's not about watching US programmes. It's about that guy creeping in everywhere -- malls, town squares, local and national TV, ads etc.. He's everywhere. A few years ago, people even started hanging stuffed Santas outside their balconies, and, of course, they bought them by mail order, for good money. That's what it is all about, and that's what I called Santa being forced upon us.

It's the advertising industry. Yes, it's at gun point, sort of. You cannot escape Santa these days. I'm afraid it will be a matter of only a few decades until Samichlaus and co. will be completely replaced by Santa, except a few niche locations like the Lötschental or southern Glarus crannies.
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  #47  
Old 24.10.2011, 13:42
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Re: SamiKlaus and his dark friend??

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It's not about watching US programmes. It's about that guy creeping in everywhere -- malls, town squares, local and national TV, ads etc.. He's everywhere. A few years ago, people even started hanging stuffed Santas outside their balconies, and, of course, they bought them by mail order, for good money. That's what it is all about, and that's what I called Santa being forced upon us.

It's the advertising industry. Yes, it's at gun point, sort of. You cannot escape Santa these days. I'm afraid it will be a matter of only a few decades until Samichlaus and co. will be completely replaced by Santa, except a few niche locations like the Lötschental or southern Glarus crannies.
Well, you live in the US so I would guess that Samichlaus isn't very well known, even in the UP. But, how is this the US's fault?

I did a grocery shop at the local Migros and there's already lots of xmas stuff around. I didn't see santa, but I did see lots of tree trimmings and such. I don't watch TV except via hulu so I don't know if there are xmas programs on already but, stores don't sell what folks do not or will not buy.
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Old 24.10.2011, 17:56
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Re: SamiKlaus and his dark friend??

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Well, you live in the US so I would guess that Samichlaus isn't very well known, even in the UP. But, how is this the US's fault?

I did a grocery shop at the local Migros and there's already lots of xmas stuff around. I didn't see santa, but I did see lots of tree trimmings and such. I don't watch TV except via hulu so I don't know if there are xmas programs on already but, stores don't sell what folks do not or will not buy.
I live in Switzerland most of the time. I'm just a part-time Michigander, and I think it's very obvious that, when I complain about Samichlaus being ousted by Santa, it's meant from a very Swiss point of view.

By the way, I never said the Santafication of Samichlaus and co. is the US's fault. That's you who insinuates such. I just blamed the advertising industry.

Of course you don't notice seeing Santa here, because that's way too normal for you. It's about like me probably not paying attention if I saw cows with bells in Michigan.

As for X-mas programs on TV, that's again very American. There you have regular TV and radio stations playing X-mas carols (the same twelve records or so) 24/7 starting briefly after thanksgiving. No such thing in Switzerland except maybe the last few days before X-mas. However, if there is any money in it, it's just a matter of time until we have that nuisance too (nuisance being my private opinion, no offense intended).

As for stores not selling stuff folks will not buy -- are you serious? Ever heard of stimulation of demand? There are so incredibly many things no one really needs but a huge and very active industry tells us we need them, so, in order to keep up with the stupid Joneses, we eventually buy them.

Who really needs fashion? Who really needs blue water in the toilet bowl? Who really needs a tooth brush with triple impact protection in the handle? Who really needs cat food with fresh herbs? They tell us we need them so we buy them. If we weren't told to do so, no one would even notice the mere existence of those things.
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  #49  
Old 24.10.2011, 18:09
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Re: SamiKlaus and his dark friend??

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I said old-fashioned and colonial - I know the Swiss don't have a colonial past (Jeez.....what I thought THAT is!)

So - if you'll forgive my "high horse" for a second......are "The Black and White Minstrels" OK? (I hope you remember them?) White guys blacking up their faces to entertain?

And the reference to French soldiers is a little different - subtle racial cues (white good, black bad) are a small part of a more widespread problem about the inequality of the races when it comes to earnings, respect, "stop and search" etc etc. If French soldiers suffered in similar ways, yeah......girls should stop dressing up as them. But I think the comparison is trivial.

(PS I assume you never suffered serious racial stereotyping? The answer of "Its only lighthearted fun" never seems to come from those that have)
I think you have misunderstood the history of Holland.

The Spanish ruled Holland. Holland was a colony. Spain was the coloniser. And the Spanish king used dark sknned soldiers from Morocco to stamp out any opposition to his rule. Those guys were feared and hated because of what they did and whom they served, not because of the colour of their skin. So the comic relief of caricatures of the same is a way of getting even with the former colonialist masters. It's the underdog making fun of his tormerntor. It's not the tormentor kicking the underrdog.

The Spaniard themselves actually have something similar, a festival called "Moros y Christianos" where one bunch get to dress up as Arabs and the other bunch as Christians and they have parades and things and sometimes re-enact battles and generally have a lot of fun. It happens every year. They are celebrating the end of Muslim colonial rule over Spain.

These are things whose origins we still know because they are within written history. Who knows how many of our traditions started off with events that are now forgotten, and only the tradition remains.
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Old 24.10.2011, 18:52
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Re: SamiKlaus and his dark friend??

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I live in Switzerland most of the time. I'm just a part-time Michigander, and I think it's very obvious that, when I complain about Samichlaus being ousted by Santa, it's meant from a very Swiss point of view.

By the way, I never said the Santafication of Samichlaus and co. is the US's fault. That's you who insinuates such. I just blamed the advertising industry.
Er, you did, actually in an earlier post:

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"Until fairly recently, Santa Claus including his trademark outfit was something the Swiss (and most continental Europeans) knew only from TV and Hollywood. Santa has been forced upon us in the last two decades or so, and the result often is a strange mixture of Santa and Samichlaus. "
As far as I know, Hollywood is still in the US, unless California has sold it outright to make some money.

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Of course you don't notice seeing Santa here, because that's way too normal for you. It's about like me probably not paying attention if I saw cows with bells in Michigan.
My mother was German who kept to the old traditions, even in the US so I wouldn't be so hasty in judging what I consider normal. I did think it strange that Migros was already hawking christmas goodies over a month ago, though.

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As for X-mas programs on TV, that's again very American. There you have regular TV and radio stations playing X-mas carols (the same twelve records or so) 24/7 starting briefly after thanksgiving. No such thing in Switzerland except maybe the last few days before X-mas. However, if there is any money in it, it's just a matter of time until we have that nuisance too (nuisance being my private opinion, no offense intended).
They start after Labor Day these days, actually, well before Halloween even has a chance to get going. Do try to keep up. I agree it's crass. I'm not a church goer and I'm not much of an xmas fan though I will admit to enjoying the feasts and the lights that go along with it, but I'm not a victim of being a 'none-of-the-above' type in a mostly christian world.

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As for stores not selling stuff folks will not buy -- are you serious? Ever heard of stimulation of demand? There are so incredibly many things no one really needs but a huge and very active industry tells us we need them, so, in order to keep up with the stupid Joneses, we eventually buy them.
I drive a 10 year old car with pride so, no, I don't quite get the whole 'keeping up with the Joneses' thing. But this aside the point, you don't buy christmas presents because someone markets them to you; you buy them for a variety of reasons but mostly to feel good in one form or another. I don't buy xmas gifts for those over the age of 18 because I don't agree with the obligation to buy stuff for others who can go get their own stuff if they want it. Nobody says you have to do it and maybe, someday, more will feel the same and the holiday will return to its more humble origins.

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Who really needs fashion? Who really needs blue water in the toilet bowl? Who really needs a tooth brush with triple impact protection in the handle? Who really needs cat food with fresh herbs? They tell us we need them so we buy them. If we weren't told to do so, no one would even notice the mere existence of those things.
Seriously? You give the marketing types that much power over you and what you buy? Are people really so unable to make sensible choices on their own?
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Old 24.10.2011, 18:59
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Re: SamiKlaus and his dark friend??

many people just call them Samichlaus, and Schmutzli with the donky, they are carring a big bag with nuts, fruits, chocolates and they only come the 6. Dez, not on Christmas!
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Old 24.10.2011, 20:43
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Re: SamiKlaus and his dark friend??

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Er, you did, actually in an earlier post:

As far as I know, Hollywood is still in the US, unless California has sold it outright to make some money.

They start after Labor Day these days, actually, well before Halloween even has a chance to get going. Do try to keep up. I agree it's crass. I'm not a church goer and I'm not much of an xmas fan though I will admit to enjoying the feasts and the lights that go along with it, but I'm not a victim of being a 'none-of-the-above' type in a mostly christian world.

I drive a 10 year old car with pride so, no, I don't quite get the whole 'keeping up with the Joneses' thing. But this aside the point, you don't buy christmas presents because someone markets them to you; you buy them for a variety of reasons but mostly to feel good in one form or another. I don't buy xmas gifts for those over the age of 18 because I don't agree with the obligation to buy stuff for others who can go get their own stuff if they want it. Nobody says you have to do it and maybe, someday, more will feel the same and the holiday will return to its more humble origins.

Seriously? You give the marketing types that much power over you and what you buy? Are people really so unable to make sensible choices on their own?
Maybe you should read some of my posts a bit more carefully. I wrote that we knew about Santa only from TV and Hollywood before he was forced upon us (meaning: by our own advertising industry). It can't get much clearer.

Sorry, I never am in the USA around Halloween / Thanksgiving, and that's a good thing. My OH flies in (i.e. to Switzerland) around Thanksgiving, and that's when the X-mas carol barrage over Internet radio in the living room begins. Four versions of "I'm dreaming of a white Christmas," and that eighteen times a day, everything from Gregorian through Blues to Hip-hop. Absolutely nerve-racking.

So you mean people buy stuffed Santa Clauses to feel better? Come on, it's because the neighbor has one and the kids are begging.

No, marketing guys have a very hard time making me do anything they like. I'm a hard-core anti-consumerist. All the gimmicks I mentioned above are things I'd never buy, and there are many more. There even are quite a few things I do not buy simply because I loathe the way they are advertised. For instance, even if McDonald's food were healthy, I'd still not buy it because of Ronald McDonald. In my book he's a deterrent.

But no matter what I do to live according to my principles, there still are enough people whose greed for unnecessary and stupid stuff can be stimulated by suffiently shelling them with clever publicity. Santa isn't about feeling better, not in the first place anyway. He is about selling stuff.
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Old 24.10.2011, 20:49
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Re: SamiKlaus and his dark friend??

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The one that comes overnight on 24th is called Santa Claus, the one on 6th December is called Saemi Chlaus here in German speaking Kt Zurich.

Yes they have different weights and levels of jolliness, although they dress the same. I am not aware of anyone locally calling either of these "st Nicholas" though I'm familiar with the expression. In Zurich he is Saemi Chlaus and Schmutzli...
The one coming on 24th December is the Christkind, St. Niklaus/ Samichlaus / Hagia Nikolao is active on 6th December.

And without wanting to be hairsplitting, he is NOT "Sämi" (Saemi) but Samichlaus
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Old 24.10.2011, 20:53
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Re: SamiKlaus and his dark friend??

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It's Samichlaus, not Saemi Chlaus, but that's just a detail.

Until fairly recently, Santa Claus including his trademark outfit was something the Swiss (and most continental Europeans) knew only from TV and Hollywood. Santa has been forced upon us in the last two decades or so, and the result often is a strange mixture of Santa and Samichlaus.


Amen to the last sentence.

Just a few little corrections:

The pronounciation of Niklaus in Swiss German is the same as in Standard German, i.e. clearly with a "k", not a "ch." However, the short form, Klaus in Standard German, is "Chlaus" in Swiss German. Why "Samichlaus," actually a contraction of Sankt Niklaus, has a "ch" is beyond me.

Coca Cola having invented the red and white Santa Claus outfit is an urban legend that has been debunked many times. That look was very popular already decades before Coca Cola launched its campaign in the early 1930s. Coca Cola just cemented that image even more, and, of course, contributed a lot to infesting the rest of the world with it.
Sorry, but in my youth in Zürich and also at grandmum in Schaffhausen, the name in dialect always was
Samichlaus ! "SamiKlaus" would have been rather exotic
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Old 24.10.2011, 21:56
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Sorry, but in my youth in Zürich and also at grandmum in Schaffhausen, the name in dialect always was
Samichlaus ! "SamiKlaus" would have been rather exotic
I never said "Samichlaus" was not the right pronunciation, simply because it is right. What I said is beyond me is the fact that practically every Swiss German dialect would say something like "Sankt Niklaus" (with a "k") but most of them contract it to something like "Samichlaus" (with a "ch"), except Baaseldiitsch, where, if I'm not mistaken, it is "Santiklaus." But there it also is "Klaus", not "Chlaus." I assume that's because Baaseldiitsch, like Alsacian, isn't High or Highest Alemannic like all the other Swiss German dialects, but Low Alemannic.

And, of course, also most German dialects in the Grisons say "Samiklaus" or something like that, simply because most Bündners cannot pronounce the Swiss German "ch."

Faltrad, where are you?
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Old 24.10.2011, 22:42
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Re: SamiKlaus and his dark friend??

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I never said "Samichlaus" was not the right pronunciation, simply because it is right. What I said is beyond me is the fact that practically every Swiss German dialect would say something like "Sankt Niklaus" (with a "k") but most of them contract it to something like "Samichlaus" (with a "ch"), except Baaseldiitsch, where, if I'm not mistaken, it is "Santiklaus." But there it also is "Klaus", not "Chlaus." I assume that's because Baaseldiitsch, like Alsacian, isn't High or Highest Alemannic like all the other Swiss German dialects, but Low Alemannic.

And, of course, also most German dialects in the Grisons say "Samiklaus" or something like that, simply because most Bündners cannot pronounce the Swiss German "ch."

Faltrad, where are you?
but the Bündnerisch "Kh" in this case is not the "K" of High German but in fact closer to the Kh as in Khaled in Arabic, and so is rather of Romansh origin
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Old 24.10.2011, 22:53
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Re: SamiKlaus and his dark friend??

In the UK he was always Father Christmas, came on the 24th. Different to St. Nick who comes on the 6th Dec, but we don't have him.
I still insist that he is Father Christmas, not Santa Claus, Americanisation I can not stand.
Now I'm here I will have St Nick and Father Christmas. St Nick will bring friut and nuts (if she's good) on the 6th and Father Christmas will fill her stocking on Christmas eve (goodies if good, coal if bad).
Father Christmas and St Nick are two different people. St Nicolas was a turkish bishop who gave money to starving prostitutes (in their stockings/shoes). Father Christmas is a mystical being (elf, fairy.... In the traditional evil sense, which is probably why he doesn't need black peter or whomever) who dresses in uncured animal skins (hence red and white).

The British (and American) Father Christmas / santa claus is an amalgam of the prehistoric supernatural being and the medieval bishop. And it's hard to keep track which part of the tradition is which. Especially with the 'disneyfication' of everything taking out the sinister. But we will never really know what part of what tradition is what.

So chill people. Just give the kids some pressies
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Old 24.10.2011, 22:55
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Re: SamiKlaus and his dark friend??

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but the Bündnerisch "Kh" in this case is not the "K" of High German but in fact closer to the Kh as in Khaled in Arabic, and so is rather of Romansh origin
The "k" in the Grisons often is strongly aspirated indeed. I don't know much about Arabic. What I know there is the letter kha, which, as far as I can tell, is pretty close to the Swiss German "ch." Never heard of Khaled other than as a name. Doesn't matter much anyway, since we are talking about Samichlaus.
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Old 24.10.2011, 23:12
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Re: SamiKlaus and his dark friend??

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Maybe you should read some of my posts a bit more carefully. I wrote that we knew about Santa only from TV and Hollywood before he was forced upon us (meaning: by our own advertising industry). It can't get much clearer.
That was ambiguous but I'll give it a pass at this point.

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Sorry, I never am in the USA around Halloween / Thanksgiving, and that's a good thing. My OH flies in (i.e. to Switzerland) around Thanksgiving, and that's when the X-mas carol barrage over Internet radio in the living room begins. Four versions of "I'm dreaming of a white Christmas," and that eighteen times a day, everything from Gregorian through Blues to Hip-hop. Absolutely nerve-racking.
There are a few radio stations that start early in October of all xmas music unfortunately. By the time the rest of the radio stations join in you're ready for a bottle of whisky and a gun.

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So you mean people buy stuffed Santa Clauses to feel better? Come on, it's because the neighbor has one and the kids are begging.
I'm not sure why folks buy what they do, but I imagine that they have the power of free will to do so or not do so. I took issue of your making everyone out to be mindless victims to the xmas marketing machine which is clearly a rather nonsensical thing to believe. Yankees, in spite of everything they may do wrong or do right are instilled with the belief of independence, of self-reliance, even though TV and media and all the random weird lawsuits may lead you to believe...the America I grew up in and still believe exists depends on personal freedom and choice.

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No, marketing guys have a very hard time making me do anything they like. I'm a hard-core anti-consumerist. All the gimmicks I mentioned above are things I'd never buy, and there are many more. There even are quite a few things I do not buy simply because I loathe the way they are advertised. For instance, even if McDonald's food were healthy, I'd still not buy it because of Ronald McDonald. In my book he's a deterrent.
Or a pedophile I hate clowns...but, yes, you have a choice not to go to McD's. My kid was the only one in her pre-K class who had never been to a McD's and, one day when she asked, I had to explain what it was and why we never ate there even though kids in her class did. She was alright with my direct explanation. As consumers, we have a choice, even when the consumer is 4 and has other priorities.

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But no matter what I do to live according to my principles, there still are enough people whose greed for unnecessary and stupid stuff can be stimulated by suffiently shelling them with clever publicity. Santa isn't about feeling better, not in the first place anyway. He is about selling stuff.
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And you'll find that no matter the holiday, no matter the country. Santa is an easy target as it crosses so many cultures and countries but every culture has cutthroat marketing for popular holidays where everyone complains that the holiday marketing time is getting longer than it was...but xmas is the only one where the EU often tries to pin the consumerism on the US without reason. Retailers are the same everywhere in that they make most of their money around the xmas holidays and, now that we're in a rather grim economy, they are ramping up the marketing to help their bottom line. Welcome to the 21st century.
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