Tag: Christmas

Taking a Stand for Christmas

The excitement of Christmas is still on for most of us. At least for me it is, as I prepare to celebrate with family on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day, three days now. Okay, so we don’t have chestnuts roasting on an open fire and Jack Frost nipping at our nose in London, due to unseasonable temperatures for December, but we have laid on a gorgeous spread, from spectacular carol services to fantastic decorations throughout the city to sought after Christmas gifts to delicious food, all on offer right up to Christmas Eve.

You’d think so, wouldn’t you? But yesterday as I was doing some last minute shopping at a major retailer in Sloane Square, I was shocked to hear at least one of their Christmas trees was being taken down.

There I was in customer collections, a wonderful way to shop, online and then collect it (yeah, it’s that easy) when a young man walked in and said he was sent down from Christmas to take down their Christmas tree. Was it okay?

Christmas, I thought. How contrary, but I guess that it is the name of a department at this time of year. Anyhow, the first sales assistant hunched her shoulders and said you’ll have to ask her, pointing to a lady who might have been the manager.

Nonchalantly, she said, of course.

Honestly! Was I the only one bothered by this, the dismantling of a tree four days before Christmas, with as many shopping days left, too?

Still I kept quiet and thanked my lucky stars that it was there when I walked in, keeping me in the Christmas spirit. I hurried off, unable to bear the tree’s premature departure.

Since then, it has occurred to me that while the rest us might like to take this thing to the last mile, the retailers have decided to wrap it up, rather earlier, evident in lack of stock for the last minute shoppers, and the preparation for the next big thing, the January sales.

Sure there are deals to be had but most of them were done last week when most of the big boys had a 30% off pre-sale because this week, the January sales start–precisely Christmas Eve, even if it is online. What does this mean?

On the news this morning, one expert suggested that maybe they’ve called it too early this time around, participating in Black Friday and Cyber Monday and so on and bringing the January sales into December, disappointing their shoppers.

She went on to say it means that some people are finding the last minute bargains already snapped up, out of stock.

You know, I ran into a bit of that, too. But the real point is this: the shopping frenzy has become a part of the holiday festivity, but it was never meant to overshadow and disrespect the celebration, was it?

I always think of gift giving, likely originating from the gifts the wise men brought to Jesus, some time after his birth, as an important part of Christmas as long as it is kept in perspective.

I know I know, I got a little out of hand, but I get the point of Christmas. And as I have years before, I’m keeping it sacred. Hoping that the majority will join in, too. And if they don’t, never mind. Everyone has to take a stand sometimes, if even the stand is alone. On that note, Merry Christmas to all!

Christmas Wrapped Calmly in London

The Monday before Christmas lived up to its nickname, panic Monday, with last minute shoppers crowding the streets, despite the inclement weather.

Though my day got off to a calm start with a drive to Knightsbridge in record time under a dry, though dreary, sky, it catapulted into chaos by lunchtime with a tedious queue at Marks & Spencer’s car park in the pouring rain, the howling wind beating against the windows.

By nightfall, I wanted to cancel our trip to the theatre but nudge as I might, Paul and the folks at the Queen Elizabeth Hall (South Bank Centre), didn’t agree, so off in the scowling weather we went to see Fascinating Aida, a favourite cabaret trio.

The show went on and I am so glad it did. It was an evening of brilliantly scripted yet wild comedy that veered on the serious side now and again.

Founder of Fascinating Aida, Dillie Keene teamed up with Adele Anderson and Liza Pulman for a captivating show, which will run in London until January 10. After a short break, the trio will move on to Derby in February.

One song, though witty, reveals Adele Anderson’s touching story of making a major life change. According to Dillie, it took ten years to write the song, so complex and personal was the subject. That’s commitment if you ask me and certainly skill and talent.

Having seen the group perform at least three times, we weren’t disappointed. If anything, we were uplifted and ready to get on with celebrating Christmas, which included a fantastic celebration with family on Christmas Eve and a spectacular lunch on Christmas Day at Monkey Island, a remote island near Bray on the Thames, which happens to be home of two stunning peacocks.

That’s it, Christmas wrapped. New Year’s is up next. On that note, wishing everyone not only a happy and safe New Year’s celebration but also a wonderful 2014. In any case, do proceed calmly.