Wednesday, December 09, 2009

Drawn to Shiny Objects


Babybro has festooned his half of the verandah with a haphazard mess of fairy lights and a gaudy flashing star in what can only be described as an OH&S hazard. This year it's a bit of a race on my part and a battle between good taste and over the top kitch. I got in quickly with my icicle lights on our shared patio for Christmas and DrummerBoy has managed to bludge three bags of no longer needed sparklies from the almost-a-father-in-law who's such a Yulephile that he actually travelled to the Rothenburg Christmas shop earlier this year to stock up.

Our habit Christmas week is to pile into the car and visit the Council publicised streets who are lit up like National Lampoon's
Griswald's house and ooh and ahh at their sparkly splendour, their inflatable characters and moving models. Usually, streets like these do it for charity and we're only too happy to put a couple of dollars in the Bush Fire Brigade bucket. But it got me thinking.

In my childhood I remember two particular sparkly events
pre-Christmas. No not the epiphany kind but pretty lights and sparkly stuff that kids love.

The Blackpool Illuminations (or eliminations as my father would call them)
I think we only went once and I distinctly remember it being summer because we also went to an outdoor pool where I jumped in the deep end by mistake and stubbed my toe and lost my tatty blanket and had to stop at my grandparents in search of a substitute - one of my Grandpa's string vests, in order to be consoled.
Yeh I was one of those kids with a blanky and an imaginary friend called Rena.

From memory, the Blackpool Illuminations were lights strung across streets in the early 60's that people travelled from far and wide to gloat over. I don't remember them being worth the two hour journey then, I was obsessed with my big toe and the loss of 'tatty'.

The other was the windows of large department store in Manchester at Christmas, could have been
Kendalls, or Lewis's I'm not sure but the most fantastic pantomime stories displayed in each window and then a visit to Santa's Grotto. Not the 'throne' parked in the middle of the food court that we have here, donned by grizzly tots in their best get-ups posing for pictures that the grandparents probably stuff in a drawer as soon as the day is over.

This was a
fairy grotto, sparkly and dimly lit with elves and fairies and long queues to see Santa who sat in all his glory at the end of a long corridor in a huge Christmassy cavern with a bag full of free presents for every child who sat on his knee and asked for a pony. All I wanted was a pair of Cinderella slippers. I didn't get them but I'm pretty sure I scored something reasonable like a game of Cluedo or Snakes and Ladders and for nicks! I blame Santa for my lack of interest in shoes, he shattered me, totally!



We used to have a Christmas parade in Sydney when Santa came to Myer, one of our large department stores. Used to be such fun to take the
littlies, bands, kids, the Christmas Fairy and Santa sweltering in his red suit under the southern sun. They still have one in Adelaide and poor Santa had to tolerate 45 degrees. I'd have given him a bit of leeway and allowed red budgie smugglers with a bit of strategically placed fluff.

So, this weekend, we'll festoon and fuss, get the lights going and begin to watch the Polar Express,
Scrooged, The Santa Claus and a plethora of Christmas DVD's to get in the mood. Yep, finally, I'm beginning to feel a little Christmassy.

32 comments:

Vita said...

Great memories Helen...I haven't got any oomph for Christmas yet...still too raw...maybe next year will see me with a lighter heart.

SJ said...

like the ribbon

A smile from SJ =)

Baino said...

Aww honey. It does get easier with time, but we never forget and always raise a glass to those who are no longer able or willing to join us. I'm still feeling a little unenthusiastic this time round. It's been a tough year.

SJ thanks. I'm pretty sure it was recycled but happy to be so. We keep wrapping and bags and bows for the next celebration. Do you celebrate Christmas? How was your visit to the Hajj. I'll pop over on the weekend to catch up.

Ribbon said...

Joy!

Baino I had a laugh too at the Angel riding the dolphin :)

I love all things sparkly at this time of year... as long as not too many of them live at my house.

hohoho
Ribbon

Kate said...

I really should send you pics of my decorations or maybe I'll write a post about them.....
Blackpool eliminations - love it!!! I only went once and I was all growed up then!

Helen - it must have been Lewis's - I remember the windows of the Leicester one they were magical!! As was Santa!!!

Enjoy getting Christmassy, the decs, the streetlights, the films...all of it.. Have fun!!!

Ribbon said...

PS... we've got outside lights too... solar powered this year..

x

Pam said...

I remember those Cinderella slippers! I wanted a pair too! When I was in the "infants school" as we called it then, we had Pioneer's Day, and all the kids dressed up in pantaloons and bonnets, looking like Bo-Peep about to hit the Antipodes...and some kid had on Cinderella slippers with,be still my heart, a little sparkly high heel!It was my first experience of shoe lust. Asked Santa for a pair and received a skipping rope and Jack in the Box. Reckoned Santa had hair growing in his ears as well.

Candie Bracci said...

sending you plenty of shinny little piece of sunshine!I know that time of the year can be kind of weird but what you got to tell yourself is that a year is ending and a new one is coming!It's renewals,new promises and new projects!Much love!:)

Roy said...

It's pouring rain out. My "ho, ho, ho" has gone into retreat!

Brian Miller said...

glad you are feeling christmasy! we went yesterday to two local drive through light shows...it was amazing and always puts me into a good mood for the holidays...even though it rained and sleeted. smiles.

Liza said...

"National Lampoon's Griswald's house"
my favourite christmas movie.
Thanks for sharing.

Don't Bug Me! said...

Santa in red budgie smugglers? That is just wrong, very, very wrong!

kj said...

honey hells, aaw the memories you've loosened up. like you, we had a huge room in a dept store, decorated and devoted to santa, who sat at the very end, surrounded by clouds and presents of all colors and shapes, and indeed i asked for a pony. i wanted a pony for years...

i don't know if i have the spirit or not, actually. but i WANT to have it and that counts in my book. i am making some little presents and cards and i like that.

you have a remarkable attitude, honey hells. i couldn;t have a better, fiestier, wiser friend.

xo

AngelMay said...

I love shiny things, too. Hope to go out this weekend and take a look at everyone's lights in this town. That's always fun.

Susan at Stony River said...

I love the lights and sparkly things; I've been blue about too many things recently and seeing all the prettiness is cheering me up, I admit!

Have fun this weekend with all your decorating!

hokgardner said...

I'm a big sucker for Christmas lights. I'd leave them on all year if I could get away with it.

e said...

Chanukkah starts on Friday, but doing very quiet stuff...I hope you will enjoy the season though it has been a tough year...

Candie is right...A new year is coming, and perhaps things will get better, one can hope anyway.

otin said...

There is something about lights that appeals to us. I think that even neon has that effect. It does not even have to be related to Christmas. I am glad that you are feeling it a bit and I also hope that Vita can feel better, also!

steph said...

Would love to see a shot of the contrasting verandah lighting!

Happy days, Baino

jay said...

'Red budgie smugglers! ROFL! Do I assume you mean shorts? Hahaha!

Going back to my childhood, I remember the Oxford Street lights in London. Dad always took us to see those, and we'd get hot chestnuts from one of the many stands on the street corners all along the road.

We also used to be taken somewhere to see Father Christmas, but not on the same day. It would have been in one of the big department stores, maybe Gamages?

laughingwolf said...

when the bairn were still wee, in vancouver, bc, we used to taken them to see the lights on the foliage at van dusen gardens, eat roasted chestnuts and slurp hot chocolate, before going home, exhausted...

Cinnamon said...

I expect I might feel a bit Christmassy on Christmas day! The constant musak on the radio is already getting on my nerves!

Kath Lockett said...

Like Cinnamon, I expect I'll feel all Christmassy on the actual day but the scads of junk mail, loud telly and radio advertising and truly awful carols playing on constant rotation in the shops is enough to for anyone's 'Bah Humbug' tendencies to flourish...

Quickroute said...

I miss getting excited about xmas - it all seems such an anticlimax these days - I will miss my family however - we have a good time on xmas day but the weather is so miserable back home I'm dying to escape after 24 hours

Rowe said...

I have not yet started my Christmas shopping! Having to replace my washing machine this week, I think I'll be raiding the $2 shops for the best looking cheap gifts I can find, or alternatively offer to wash, iron and giftwrap a load of washing per head. My little bubba boo is not interested in a photo with Santa, so perhaps while she is too young to know what the fuss is all about anyway I can give myself a little Christmas break and avoid going bankrupt. The chrissy tree is up, has already fallen over twice, the lights go on each night, if we manage to eat drink and be merry I think we'll be doing just fine.

River said...

I remember when our christmas pageant was owned and run by John Martin's department store. The parade would end with Santa in his cave, just as grotto and sparkly as what you probably remember. These days it's run by the (oh heck, I can't remember),and it's still a big pageant but a lot of the floats are not at all christmassy and although they're colourful there's no glitter, no sparkle. I don't think Santa throws sweets anymore either. I haven't been to see his cave or throne or whatever, for me the magic died when John Martin's closed. I love your shiny baubles.

nick said...

Christmas decorations are totally overdone, imho. I get sick of tacky, garishly-coloured plastic things in every shop window and front porch. A few tasteful decorations in your own living room are quite enough to enjoy the day. Why any decorations, anyway? Isn't a bit of good food and wine and some lively conversation all you need?

Megan said...

All my neighbors have their lights up. I love looking at them.

Catch me dangling from the rooftop trying to emulate - not going to happen!

Poetikat said...

I'm not there yet. We've got the tree up, the lights up, some decorations in the house and I still don't really feel it. Maybe some eggnog would do the trick, eh?

lettuce said...

budgie smugglers, i'd forgotten that one, its such a great term

and, in my view, theres nothing wrong with a bit of kitsch!

Ces said...

I love Christmas. I am just so busy and overworked so I am so tired to do anything.

Colette Amelia said...

I am still trying to visulize Christmas at +45 degrees! cooking the turkey for hours on end and eating the goliath meal seems all wrong somehow.

But then again Christmas at -40 isn't all that is cracked up to be either!