Friday, October 3, 2008

Christmas is coming

THE Christmas Shop opened at King’s Court in Port Elizabeth last night. If you have a child, you’ll know how hard it is to explain to them why Christmas is still so far away when there are signs of it bubbling up all around – as in the Christmas Shop, a jewelled emporium dedicated to the season.

Look at these little angels, captured last night by Herald photographer Sam Majela.

And try not to be a Christmas grump and say “Bah humbug! It's only October 3! And these prices are outrageous! I can get cheaper at Checkers or Clicks or Makro”. Yes, of course you can (for some of the stuff) but that may not be the point. Rather treat it as a family outing, a visit to a glittering museum or art gallery, entrance free, and be transported into a child-friendly fairyland of twinkling treasures, an Aladdin’s cave, or rather Santa’s grotto. Who says you have to buy something?

For me, the Christmas Shop has become one of those must-do Port Elizabeth outings for the whole family. Perhaps it’s our post-millennium equivalent of walking up Happy Valley in Humewood to see the cartoon characters lit up at night or taking a drive down Main Street to see the Christmas lights. You can’t really drive down Main Street – now Govan Mbeki Avenue – at the moment, due to the renovations and “pedestrianisation”. And as for Happy Valley, hmmm, you may not want to do that night walk anymore unless it’s in a large group (South Africans will know why this is sad but if you are reading this elsewhere in the world, well, come visit one day and we’ll explain our topsy-turvy town).
It’s easy to like the Greek cousins, Evy and Maria, who run the shop – Maria Markides the beautiful and Evy Evlambiou the brave. Evy climbed Mount Kilimanjaro a few months back and then played an Afghanistani woman under the burka in The Vagina Monologues at the Opera House. I don’t know Maria so well but Evy, to me, is a cross between Mr Magorium and Molly Mahoney in Mr Magorium’s Wonder Emporium – a wise, ageless soul in charge of a magical space. I imagine Evy is not 243, though, but you can probably ask her.

Now, there is still that little problem of how to explain to the over-excited children that it is actually still 83 sleeps until the big day ...

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