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FASHION: EVERYONE'S TALKING ABOUT...: Christmas (already).

Byline: Ru Green

I CAN barely believe this time of year has rolled around again. Last Christmas seems like a very recent memory, and already we're planning for the next round of festive fun.

I saw my first Christmas display halfway through September, but hoped against hope it was a one-off, and everyone else would leave it until November, but in the last fortnight the whole thing has snowballed and you would be hard-pressed to find a shop that doesn't have a Christmassy corner.

I know it's the biggest time of year for the retail industry and I understand the pressures of targets, which mean every year they are expected to sell more than the last.

However, a part of me resents the way it's almost impossible to think of Christmas as a special time of the year, as the build-up is almost three months prior to the big day.

That's a quarter of the year simply preparing, and by the time it comes round we are so saturated with all things Christmassy, we have some kind of festive fatigue, which makes it impossible to summon up any genuine wonder and awe.

Whether you are religious or not, Christmas is traditionally a time of family and of conciliation.

People who haven't had time to catch up with each other over the previous 12 months make contact and most people return to the bosom of their family, if only for one meal.

From that secular perspective alone, it's important that we keep Christmas special.

I know the idea of placing yuletide displays earlier and earlier in the year is a bid to get us to spend more and to spread the wealth across three months instead of one, but I find the constant presence of festive shopping from September diminishes my sense of urgency. The more time I have to prepare for the big day, the less time I leave to do my shopping.

For years religious groups have tried to bring back the "real meaning of Christmas" and hoped to curb consumer obsessions and take us back to what it's all about from a Christian standpoint.

But whether we are religious or not, surely we all believe in Christmas enough to fight for a return to keeping it simple, and keeping it short enough to enjoy. Let's hope, and pray for the Advent of common sense.
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Title Annotation:Features
Publication:Coventry Evening Telegraph (England)
Date:Oct 14, 2003
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