Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Christmas Watch 2010

Well, we've managed to reach November this year before I've felt compelled to mention the stealthy arrival of Christmas into our High Streets. Last year you couldn't help but notice its arrival as early as September. Perhaps the recession has held it up this year. That said, as in 2009, the tins of sweets and biscuits could be seen on sale in September, but the supermarkets were going to great lengths to reassure us that this had nothing to do with Christmas. At least the mince pies and Christmas puddings were kept off the shelves until late October. What moved me to make this post was the sudden appearance of a fully decorated Christmas tree in a branch of Tesco today. Not only was it the first of the season, as far as I can see, but it simply appeared, unheralded and without warning. I mean, did anybody actually see it being put up and decorated? I'm beginning to suspect that the bloody things just materialise, possibly from some other dimension, where it is forever Christmas.

Whatever the reason, I found that tree's sudden appearance today somewhat sinister. It wouldn't have been so bad if it had been accompanied by other festive decorations in the store, or if other shops had put up trees and decorations. But no, there it was, just lurking there in the corner of the entrance, like some malignant creature, sizing up unsuspecting shoppers with a view to ensnaring them into the festive season. OK, I know I should have expected it - Christmas lights are already being switched on up and down the country and the seasonal adverts are back on the telly - but it was just the sheer stealthiness with which it arrived. Like the vanguard of an invasion. Perhaps that's what is happening - everyone just assumes that these trees have been put up by somebody, whereas, in reality, they're an alien army, biding their time and lulling us into a false sense of security before they strike. You won't know anything about it until you suddenly hear that tinkling of decorative balls and the rustle of pine needles behind you, but by then it will be too late, as you spin round to find one of the green bastards about to strangle you with a string of tinsel...

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