Sunday, 10 August 2014

David Jones and Myer Not Yet Christmas Ready

Well not exactly. But now that I have your attention let me explain. I was in both David Jones and Myer (Chadstone, Australia) today (Sunday) and there was a distinct lack of any presence to do with Christmas. Other than in David Jones where there were signs of the coming of Christmas. A cleared area with what looked like a few left overs from last Christmas. Why mention this?

Bestsellers are expected to be British designs featuring London themes and the Union flag
Selfridges Christmas Shop 2014 - With its British Christmas theme.
Well a couple of weeks ago I did mention in my article which of the department stores around the globe I thought which would be the first to open up their Christmas store. The money was on Selfridges. I knew that we were close to new Christmas stock coming because our local Christmas store, Santas Place did have a 30% discount advertised outside the store but suddenly it disappeared. This I usually take as a sign that the new Christmas stock is now in and ready to sell.

So if I had gone down the bookies and placed money on Selfridges, being the first to open, would I have won the bet. Yep. I am pretty confident that I would have. As I tweeted on the 5th August, Okay looks like have gone early again this year. But wait is this really the case. So I have turned to Mr. Google to find out. 

Macy's and Bloomingdales in the US don't appear to have any store open yet but do have some Christmas decorations online. So I turned to the UK to find that Selfridges great rivals, John Lewis have not yet set up store. They do have an announcement on their website, that Christmas 2014 is on its way. Harrods on the other hand put up a cheeky tweet on Twitter on 25th July stating, 'There are some items including decorations and food available at The Harrods Christmas Shop (2nd Floor) and in the Food Halls.' So Harrods have gone half cocked with Christmas, but will have something ready at the end of August. Liberty the other department store in London have an announcement on their website stating that their Christmas Shop is now open on the 4th floor.

So who won this years race. Well again I think it has to go to Selfridges. Want to be a part of it, other than visiting, here is a video on this years Christmas store.

What do I need this year? Now let me have a think about that. Just hope David Jones and Myer get going soon.

Image Source: Daily Mail

Monday, 4 August 2014

Why an Aussie Christmas seems, well, just strange

As a family we emigrated to Australia 6 years ago this month and have loved almost every minute. The one thing though that I still can not get my head around is that Christmas is in the middle of summer and it is December. Having a roast when it is frequently in the mid to high 20s (high 60s F), seems well, just strange.
How I like to remember Christmas in the UK. But it really just kept raining
Let’s take a step back in time. My first Christmas memory was getting a bike from Father Christmas, when I was four and not being able to use it on Boxing Day. Why, because the whole of the Gower Peninsula in South Wales was under a blanket of thick snow. So instead of using a bike, I was using the neighbour’s old wooden sledge, down the middle of the street we lived on.

So from a young age I have associated Christmas with snow and cold weather. Or more like the lyrics of Greg Lake’s song, ‘They said there'll be snow at Christmas…But instead, it just kept on raining.’ So with Christmas in July out of the way last month, it was a shock to the system when I got a call from my wife saying it was snowing, last week. Now that is no surprise in itself. But it just doesn’t snow on the Mornington Peninsula (about one hour south of Melbourne, Australia), not at sea level anyway. And in August, that just sent my internal senses slightly into a spin. To add to this, we had a really heavy frost, to the delight of my son. The next best thing for him than snow is walking on the crunch that is frost on grass. Was a joy to behold.

To get around the feeling of everything being upside down, at Christmas, from the first year we arrived, we created a ‘new traditional’ Christmas. So each Christmas we make a day of it in the City (Melbourne). We visit Father Christmas at Myer’s and then the Melbourne must have, the Myer Christmas windows, which are just amazing. And you have to queue. And I mean you have to queue. If you don’t get there early on a Saturday, you are looking at queuing the length of one block. We used to visit the free show at the Crown, but they changed it a few years ago and the new show is very disappointing. On the way home, we then visit the Christmas Bazaar at the Swedish Church in the leafy and wealthy suburb of Toorak. It is set in the lovely grounds of the old British Governors’ house and the sound of Scandinavian languages and smell of delicious food fill the air.

So what do we miss other than family and a good panto. Well bizarrely the wet and cold in the run up to Christmas, one of the things that made us leave the UK in the first place. But that is all forgotten, because there isn’t anything much better than spending Boxing Day on the beach, instead of a drafty British home watching television.

Image Source: Bert Kaufmann via Compfight cc