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.