Bowling shoes, golfing shoes, espadrilles, clogs.
Plain-toes, cap-toes, topsiders, Brogues.
Hiking boots, moccasins, loafers, mules.
Wing-tips, slingbacks, ballets dressed with jewels.
Platforms, sneakers, sandals or skates.
No matter what you call them,
they're footwear -- for goodness sake!
Many different cultures, countries, and religions celebrate Christmas each year with traditions and customs as vast as the holiday itself. For instance, the idea of Christmas cards came from England, the notion of the Christmas tree came from Germany and the concept of Poinsettias came from Mexico. But the custom of children filling their wooden shoes with straw and food for St. Nicholas (to be hopefully replaced with candy and wrapped gifts) came from the Netherlands.
From the simplicity of flip-flops to the rough and ruggedness of boots - First Lady Imelda Marcos hoarded them, President Elect Barack Obama was caught with holes in his, and Sarah Palin was hung out to dry for strutting in hers during her failed campaign for the Vice Presidency. But if properly placed out for Santa and filled with the goodies he enjoys most, I'm certain he'd fill all of them, big or small.
Not just at Christmas -- globally -- but year round, it's customary to slip off your shoes when entering a home. Here in the States we remove them to avoid bringing dirt and the oo-and-goo from the outside in. In parts of Africa, Korea, Thailand, and in the Middle East, it's equally poor-form to show the soles of your feet. And even worse, shoe tossing -- similar to this week's display of President Loafer...umm I mean Bush, successfully lame-ducking projectile footwear -- is the ultimate insult and a sign of contempt in areas of Iraq and in India (not that shoe-flinging would actually be acceptable behavior in any culture I can think of, but this was a high point for shoe fetishists everywhere!). In fact, displaying the soles of your shoes may by considered the ultimate insult in some Arab cultures. (Think back to when so many Iraqis beat its face with the soles of their shoes after the statue of Saddam Hussein was toppled in Baghdad in April 2003.)
With the holidays on their heels, many Iraqis have laid blame at the feet of W -- who many blame for the deaths and maiming of tens of thousands of their countrymen and women and children in the 5-1/2 year war that's engulfed their country since his U.S. led invasion of 2003 -- there are many who believe he had a shoe-to-the-head coming to him for quite some time since he's been hurling lethal weapons, not cowboy boots at them. (Good guess that the footwear-chucking incident will keep Mr. Bush out of Holland where an airborne wooden shoe could do a lot more damage than a sandal!)
With the holidays right before us, we're anticipating change even as we are both excited and anxious. We are awaiting the other proverbial shoe to drop, and hopefully Santa will fill this particular Ugg with prevention from our oncoming financial depression, remedies for the credit and home mortgage crisis, a global economy that actually benefits both sides in the trade, a blossoming green collar employment program, and a real Manhattan Project-like attempt to stem the tide of global warming and climate change.
Despite it all, attempt to make your holiday platform one filled with sole and heel-ing thoughts...Happy Holidays!