“So what!”, I hear you ask, “Christmas is always coming (and going): it is just a feature of having a repeating calendar.”
Have I perhaps been observing a goose and am growing concerned about its incipient obesity? No – nothing so traditional.
Have I seen Easter goods or the start of the summer sales in our retail outlets? Probably, but have fortunately blanked them from my mind.
No, it was the weekend before last when I cycled into Cambridge, and even towards the end of Sunday afternoon found it was still rather challenging to access my preferred cycle park as the queue of traffic into the nearby car park was blocking the surrounding roads for some hundreds of yards. This is a clear indicator that the important commercial message of Christmas has not been forgotten – even in these difficult times. Surely, a source of comfort to those who support a traditional festive season.
Yesterday, I was in central London and so saw the Christmas lights in both Regent and Oxford Streets (all I needed was Bond Street and I could start thinking about houses or a hotel). I think Regent Street was going with a spider’s web motif – the spider being an animal traditionally associated with Yuletide. (I had thought this was sarcasm on my part, but apparently it really is traditional in Germany – the source of many of our Christmas traditions). Oxford Street seems to have accepted that a white Christmas is very unlikely in London, and that a wet Christmas is much more probable. The street is thus decorated with a combinations of Xmas presents and umbrellas!
Subject matter aside, both sets of lights were quite tastefully done – I’ve seen far worse in the same streets in years gone by.
I fear I must face up to the impending Winterval (a rather lovely word, much maligned by hysterical polemics in some of our press, who tend to view facts as being something best avoided when preparing a story) rather than hoping that ignoring it will cause it to go away. My attempts to starve it of the oxygen of publicity have proven totally ineffective. So tomorrow, I shall grab an umbrella, garnish it with spiders’ webs, and head to East Sussex to enjoy a Christmas Mass as it might have been in 1610. Never let it be said that I’m living in the past! Au contraire, I have to travel!