A few years ago I saw a comment about the oddness of Christmas that has stuck with me. It said, “At what other time of year do you sit in front of a dead tree and eat candy out of your socks?”
Too true. We see Christmas cards of cute guys wearing Santa outfits while holding puppies. There are cards with our kids on them, or our grandkids. Pictures of decorated trees. Snow-scenes. Snowmen, in fact — snow families. St. Nicholas, aka the Jolly Fat Man. We spend money we don’t have to impress people we don’t like. Christmas is a bit odd in that way.
Now, imagine if you were an alien and had never experienced a twenty-first century Christmas before. You arrive on Earth on December 24, 2013 in North America. Your arrival was purposely quiet. Your mission is to observe and report back without being noticed. What would you say in your report?
Population: extremely heavy in rural and shopping areas, while places of apparent business seem abandoned by comparison
Advertisements: Profusion of advertising featuring a fat, graying man in a red suit trimmed with white fur, oddly mixed with what appears to be ads for exercise equipment for a “fit new year”. Same man appears on street corners ringing bells, and on thrones in places of business. People bring children to him. Cannot determine if this is a deity or a patron of sales. Suggest second trip in different season to observe.
Security: Armed and unarmed uniformed police everywhere. Extreme attention at places of commerce, and on items which appear to be small plastic cards. These are often shown before leaving with purchases, although no currency seems to change hands. Perhaps the items being removed from places of business can be recalled by the “cashier”, and the cards are merely ID.
Food: Lavish meals are being planned, with images of huge cooked birds on platters. High attention is paid to crooked red and white “canes” often decorated with attached items. Pastries in the form of small biscuit-shapes are seen everywhere. Most are decorated or festooned with icing and sprinkles. Perhaps these are the reason such attention is paid to “fitness equipment.”
Space travel: Confusingly, there are multiple images of outer space travel displaying advanced ships and alien contact, yet these all seem to be works of fiction.
Weaponry: Debates ongoing over “gun control” while civil wars are taking place throughout the world. Pockets of war interspersed with areas of peace. Most weaponry is primitive compared to ours.
First Contact: So-called UFOs are discussed everywhere. Population seems open to first contact, while government is apparently opposed to same.
Potential for Colonization: Wait another century
What do you think? What types of items did I miss that the alien would have reported?
Happy Holidays to you and yours, no matter what planet you call home.