Come December and houses get decked up with illuminated paper and plastic stars lending a heavenly feel to the yuletide season

“Get that yellow one,” little Margaret tells her father showing the fluorescent yellow star with ornamental cuttings. Indeed, it is hard to resist the temptation to hang one at home.

“It is beyond religion. Hanging an illuminated paper star at the entrance enhances the beauty of your home. I put it up every year,” says Qadir, a businessman.

Shops in most parts of the city have stocked Christmas stars. The Puthu Mandapam area is a riot of colours and designs. Stars with multicolour flaps and wings and glittering designs are fast moving items. Colours vary from white to bright red and the price depends on the paper, designs and embellishments on them.

The cost of paper stars range from Rs. 40 to Rs.300. “We get these stars from Sivakasi and Chennai,” says Josephine, running a small shop near Rosary Church.

“People here are price conscious, looking for grand stars for less than Rs.100,” says Johnson, a sales man at a shop. There are different kinds of stars, from normal five-pointed to 12 pointed ones. There are also stars which have longer tails pointing downwards.

Apart from the stars, there are shops that sell the whole Christmas ensemble that include the costumes of Santa Claus, masks, artificial Christmas trees, and decorations. The shops also sell embellishments including bells, mistletoes, gift boxes, coloured balls and Santa dolls. These decorative pieces come in small packets and are priced from Rs.100. Dolls depicting the birth scene and cribs are also available. The smaller ones cost range from Rs.50 and the bigger ones cost Rs.3000.

“The Christmas star symbolizes hope for good fortune and reaching above oneself. For all human beings, regardless of religion, stars have special meaning for all to share the heavens, no matter what barriers keep them apart on Earth,” says Davamani Christober, Principal, The American College.

Christmas is also the season for shop owners like Samson, who is selling stars in his sports goods shop. Cashing in on the enthusiasm for just a month, he says, is worthwhile.