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Christmas Trees Around the World in Cook County

Chicago is a city of neighbourhoods, and a city of many ethnic backgrounds and traditions.

 
 

 

Canadian tree (right), Egyptian tree (middle)

Canadian tree (right), Egyptian tree (middle)

Recently, I was invited to attend the Cook County Treasurer’s / Office of Ethnic Affairs Christmas Party of “Christmas Trees Around the World”.  Every year, they send me an invite to attend.  They know me from the Canadian Club and from the Saint Andrew Society, am never sure what to dress up as.  This event coincides with a display of Christmas trees decorated by various ethnic groups in the area, all on display in the same room where one pays property taxes at City Hall. 

 

A Hammond Organ, an Accordion - what more could a Christmas party need?

A Hammond Organ, an Accordion - what more could a Christmas party need?

Last year, the County Treasurer could been seen crooning Christmas carols with the Chairman of the County Board, while the Chairman played a mean Hammond organ.  This year, the Chair wasn’t in attendance, but the image from last year made me think that all that was missing was someone playing the accordion, like the parade scene in “Ferris Buehler’s Day Off”.  Low and behold, this year –perhaps to make up for the non-appearance of the County Chair – the German American Association of Chicago supplied a rotund fellow with an accordion, leading the crowd in an all German rendition of “Silent Night”. The County Treasurer was positioned at the Hammond organ, though not nearly as theatrical as was the County Chair.  It was a very Chicago sort of thing.

Now about what to show up as: in panning both Canadian and Scottish organizations to see who would be making an appearance, the Canadian Club were planning a good showing, the Scots were lacking, so I dressed up in full highland garb.  The Canadians were impressed.  A lady from a Scandinavian consulate likewise appeared to be impressed though I may never know, as she only spoke to me in a language that I couldn’t understand.  She did seem to be chuckling as she spoke, however.

The Scottish tree, immediately prior to a group of ladies asking me to pose beside it

The Scottish tree, immediately prior to a group of ladies asking me to pose beside it

On that note however, and in response to the Germanic rendition of “Silent Night”, I attempted to get a French rendition of “Jingle Bells”, or rather “Vive la Vente” without success.  They only others in attendance who could speak French were a group of people from Cameroon, and I think that the whole “snow” concept may have been a bit of a novelty.

Posted in Community Organization, Current Affairs.