There is Christmas everywhere

Yuletide Youngsters do their bit of Christmas shopping

Yuletide Youngsters do their bit of Christmas shopping   | Photo Credit: Photo: K.R. Deepak

Christmas celebrations gather steam, thanks to a little bit of help from China, discovers Serish Nanisettiafter a trip to Lashkar

Christmas was the time when Santa used to come to town. No more. Now everyone can be his or her own Santa thanks to China. Or rather the Made in China Santa caps, toys, lights, bells and mistletoe that are everywhere. “We are asking our pre-primary student to wear Santa caps as we think it is the best way to communicate the spirit of Christmas. It also helps children understand the spirit of other religions,” says a teacher of an upscale school in Banjara Hills. A few years back such a request would have met with resistance from parents. Not any more. “There has been no resistance. I am expecting most of the children to turn up that way on December 24,” says the teacher.

“Just five years ago, when we wanted to pick up decorations for Christmas we had to go to Reva near Sangeet cinema. Now they are everywhere, even the smallest stationary shop in Ameerpet stocks almost all the knick-knacks that we need,” says V. Siddham, who lives in Yousufguda.

There is no space inside Shraddha Extension near Sangeet cinema (we could not spot Reva). The plastic evergreens of various sizes are parked on the pavement and the stars are hung on a wire almost hugging the road. Shoppers wait outside either for their car or to get inside to make their shopping, L. C. Umakant is a picture of poise as he holds forth on the booming business inside his shop: “Who says business is down? People need choice. I offer them choice and they don’t think twice before picking up stuff. A number of people have come and splurged,” he says waving expansively inside the shop where the merchandise is spilling off the shelf and touches the heads of anyone over 5-ft.

For the Lazarus family from Mettuguda it is the second round of shopping. “We are done with the star, rice lights and other decorations now we are looking for something to make our manger different. We do it the last and the children contribute it with their touch about small things,” says Eileen Lazarus. Drive down Mettuguda, Lalaguda, East Marredpally and Moula Ali in the night and the spirit of festival is infectiously in the air (at least you will be tempted to buy a star or rice lights).

Half-way across the city, V. Srinivas the store manager at the Walden is glum, “The sales are dull. This year we have done about 50 per cent of the business that we did last year. I think it has got to do with the corporates toning down their celebrations,” he reasons. Between these two takes on Christmas is the tale of toned-down corporatised Christmas celebrations where some IT companies have limited the budget marked to Facilities Department for the decorations. This has affected the big stationary and book shops. Then there are the home celebrations that have remained virtually unaffected by the downturn.

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Spreading the cheer

* Santa Claus: The toy with mirthful face, chubby cheeks, white beard and the flaming red cap and clothes can be had in two sizes. The bigger one costs about Rs. 7000 the smaller one Rs. 1500.

* Bells: Acrylic bells that don’t tinkle but are colourful nevertheless come in all sizes right from the ones are being sold by the dozens in a packet for decorating the tree to the paired ones that can be stuck on the door.

* Evergreens: It is packed in a box. Take it home, open it and it is a tri-ped tree that looks real with its emerald green leaves that don’t wrinkle or crinkle even when children tug at them.

* Santa caps: It is not peaked by a bob of woollen threads, but what the heck, it looks like a Santa cap. Between Rs. 20 and Rs. 99 depending on where you buy.

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