Every year, the British press has tales of woe from some festive 'event' that turns out to be not quite what visitors envisaged - usually some shoddy setup run by rough men, with a five o'clock shadow and some tatty costume, muttering profanities at children.
Yet every year, unimaginable numbers of people buy into this 'festive magic' and trudge along hopeful of some kind of 'delightful experience'.
This year's worst so far seems to have been Taverham Hall, Norwich, which included three hours of queuing for a SARS-Safe 'Magical Christmas' drive-through of a nighttime sparkling forest.
From the article:
The Scrooge guy called us all mutants, said Santa has crashed his sleigh and the presents are in the mud, and there was a man in chains by a tree just staring at the car.
Putting the upset children aside, the whole thing seems kind of hilarious. Without class-A drugs, these kind of organised events rarely live up to their billing, especially at this time of year. The government should issue seasonal warnings against mindless stupidity.
I'm not sure if that's what it's called, but to me it falls into exactly the same category. On the odd occasion that I've stopped by, it felt like the crappiest 'carnie' atmosphere on an increasingly large scale.
Yet, few people seem willing to just say "this is shit, let's go do something else". There's some kind of social pressure to pretend that navigating crowds in the cold, among tacky lights and generators, with rubbish fairground rides and mediocre food, is some kind of 'magical experience'.
Nobody ever looks happy, there's a general air of boredom among everyone there including children. It's just queues of people hoping it will either get better or else end soon. Fortunately for many, it's not being run this year.
There are a couple of these crappy events that people do genuinely seem to enjoy - the Botanical Gardens occasionally light up their trees with ticketed access, though I guess the enjoyment comes from peaceful space to spend with people in your company.
Okay, so almost certainly not you, reading a Gemini page, but to some people somewhere:
There, I said it. If you read an advert and it uses the word 'magical', try substituting the word 'shit', and if it's followed by the word 'experience', remember that word is often preceded by 'traumatic'.
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