David Jones department store is famous for its animated Christmas window displays. And rightly so. I’m only sorry I didn’t get out in the evening to capture these all lit up, but trust me, they are superb and every child in Sydney ought to be taken to look at them.
Ursula Dubosarsky the award-winning Sydney children’s author was thrilled when asked to write an original story with an Australian flavour for the windows this year.
“I was thinking kangaroos, wallabies and koalas,” Dubosarsky says, but she quickly came around to the idea of using a reindeer. “It suggested a nice story of the Australian experience, which is very often an immigrant experience. Apart from indigenous people, we all appeared here from other cultures.”
Dubosarsky took home the toy reindeer to use for inspiration, as she often does. “You get a bit more personality from a toy. You know how it is, you think your teddy bear is talking to you,” she says. “I still use that technique, so I sat there with the reindeer.”
The tale he told her, Reindeer’s Christmas Surprise, was about visiting all his animal friends with presents, before getting a lovely surprise himself at the end of the story.
Happy Christmas Everybody…!
Lingering over windows in Sydney has the effect of leaving you with your mouth open – so many expensive shops. I couldn’t help admire the gleaming window displays; less is more.
I never shop where they don’t show the price in the window.
I’m not a fan of the commercialised Halloween. When I was growing up it barely existed in the UK, although the Christian practice of remembering the dead, including saints (hallows) and martyrs, goes back centuries. Trick and Treat and dressing up in scary costumes was an American ‘thing’. Instead we looked forward to Bonfire Night on 5 November. With accompanying ‘guy’, fireworks, bonfire toffee, Yorkshire Parkin, baked potatoes, mushy peas and toffee apples. Weeks before were spent collecting firewood, making the guy and saving pennies to buy sparklers, crackerjacks and catherine wheels.
Remember, remember, the fifth of November.
Gun powder, treason and plot
I see no reason, why gunpowder treason
Should ever be forgot.
But the fifth of November has been overtaken by Halloween. A vivid reminder of just how powerfully American culture and American consumerism can be transported across the Atlantic. Local shops create window displays suitable for the season. and now my own grandchildren look forward to dressing up as ghouls and ghosties and knocking on the neighbours doors for a treat.
Me? I just close the curtains and pretend I’m not in.
I can’t help lingering over windows, especially when they come in the form of a delightful Regency era Palm House. (The Regency era is the period between 1811 and 1820 when King George III was deemed unfit to rule and his son, the Prince of Wales, ruled as his proxy as Prince Regent. In 1820 the Prince Regent became George IV)
You’ll find this little beauty in the Bicton Park Botanical Gardens in East Devon, as well as acres of landscaped gardens to walk around.