Tuesday, October 04, 2005

It's Christmas Time In Cape Town! (A Bit Too Early For My Liking)

In South Africa, you usually know Christmas is on its way due to the aggressiveness of our local retailers and supermarkets. Every year on about the 24th or 25th of October we begin to see our first Christmas-themed advertising on TV – and it doesn't stop until, well, Christmas. In fact, it doesn't stop until long after the holiday that you've been looking forward to all year has been bashed so hard into your brain that you wish it would just be over with because you cannot stand it any longer.

Every year around this time in October I become a little depressed, in anticipation of the flood of awful TV ads that we will be forced to endure for two months. I always mentally make a note of the companies I see advertising first (those determined to get ahead of the competiton, at the expense of our sanity), and think horrible thoughts about their downfalls for weeks afterwards. It takes lots of Cape Town's summer sun and relaxed holiday atmosphere to make me feel better.

This year, however, I was caught by surprise. A nasty surprise. Last week I was walking my usual trek after work, from the office to the car, and I passed a certain magazine/stationery store, as I always do (I shall refrain from mentioning it by name, although it deserves to be shamed). A santa suit was on display near the window, along with a few boxes of Christmas decorations on the floor beneath it. I presume the store was advertising that it will be (or is) selling those items, but I was rather shocked. After all, it was the end of September. Christmas is three months away. I continued on, mentally dismissing it as an oddity...

...until yesterday. Yesterday I was looking out the window at another strike that was amassing in Adderley Street (which turned out to be totally pitiful and not worth blogging about), and I noticed some oddly coloured, hazy shapes around where the people were gathering. After some intense staring I realised that I was looking at was Christmas-decoration lights, in the form of whales and elephants, that sometime in the last few days had been installed in a couple of places down the street. I presume this is just the start of the decorating (someone - uncharacteristically - taking some initiative), as Adderley Street is usually bathed in displays from the start of the street near St George's Cathedral down to the foreshore. The lights look like they are going to be quite cool (although oddly un-Christmas-like), but I would have preferred another month of calm before the Christmas barrage.

Oh well, maybe next year.



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