I hope everyone is winding down for Christmas and getting ready for the festive season.
Work Christmas parties should be well out of the way by now and those of you with school-age children will have the pleasure of excited helpers in the house.
I love this time of year and especially when the kids were home. Days slowed down and relaxed, there wasn't the bustle to get off to school or sports to get ready for and mealtimes weren't as structured.
It's funny the house is not the same without kids at home and all the fuss of tree trimming, decorating the house, baking and making treats for Christmas and holidays.
I took a leisurely walk up Victoria Ave on Sunday morning to have a look at the Christmas windows. It's nice to wander up town in the early morning when there is no one about and just take time. The streets are always clean and tidy after the street cleaners have been through and the hanging baskets are beautiful along with the gardens showing a beautiful array of Christmas colours in some of the gardens.
I discovered an interesting mixture of shop windows, from traditional to simply decorated, to no festive decoration at all. The majority of shop fronts looked clean and inviting.
It was lovely to see decorated shop windows; welcoming people to stop take a look and invite them in to inquire further. Some of the decorating was extensive with very traditional decorations that instantly brought back childhood memories of Christmas Day feasts with lots of laughter with family and friends.
I love the traditional colours, instantly warming and cheerful. Though it is funny how traditional colours of red and green often bring images of snow and open fires in the middle of our hot summer. Other windows were more contemporary with a definite Kiwi flavour of jandals, pohutukawa and Santa dressed for the beach, sparking memories of lazy summer days at the beach.
It's funny how the change in Christmas themed windows brings about different memories associated with Christmas. Some of the very simply decorated windows were very effective and although simple probably had a lot of thought that went into the window itself and what lay beyond. The shop front is a slice of what is beyond to encourage people to spend and if not spend tell their friends so that they do. It's a complete package from visual imagery to excellent service where the customer feels good about spending time and money.
I spoke to one retailer during the week and inquired after their decorations as they have the perfect Christmas red in their corporate colours. With their franchise they are limited by head office in what they are allowed to display and Christmas is no exception. It's a shame as we all have our different flavour around the country and it would be nice if at one time of the year we were allowed to show our true colours and shine.
There were a couple of shop windows that had moved away from the more traditional colours of red and green and our Kiwi themed windows to the purples and pinks. I love these colours of Christmas for a change but then purple is my colour.
Most shop windows were very different. Scattered amongst them were the traditionally painted windows. It's refreshing that in my lifetime these designs have not really changed much, with images of holly, Christmas bells, ribbons and snow. My favourite windows were the very traditional full of Christmas images of yesteryear, the simplicity of wreaths of feathers and doves along with stunning orchids, the simplicity of our stylised pohutukawa adorning windows, the colours of purple and hot pinks, the glitz and sparkle of reindeer and knitted snowmen.
Good on you Wanganui retailers for helping make our lovely city festive. If you haven't had time to take a look this week wander down and see if you can see the decorations I've seen.
I'd like to wish everyone a safe and happy Christmas.
Thank you to all my readers and clients for your support and encouragement throughout the year.
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