14 December 2011

I lost my Christmas spirit at the megamall. I found it again at Gingerbread Village.


Christmas shopping. I should be good at it. I am good at it. I love shopping. I would say it's a hobby up there with blogging, eating and going to see bands. I am usually so organised that by now I have smugly bought and wrapped all of the presents and they are sent to Santa* But this year, a week and a bit before Christmas, I still have a few more presents to buy and I am actually dreading venturing out for more shopping. And I really shouldn't begrudge Christmas. I can't wait to finish work on 22 December, go to my parents' place, relax, cook good food and enjoy being with the people I love at Christmas time. Isn't that what Christmas is meant to be about - love?

*When I was a kid, my parents would buy things from the Doubleday Bookclub and "send them to Santa" via the high cupboard in my bedroom. The high cupboard was a passage to the North Pole. On reflection, I learnt about this sort of thing in my International Business subject in third year uni - the subject where I never attended any classes because quite frankly it bored me yet I still aced it - one of my proudest moments. I digress. This sending to Santa caper is definitely some sort of economic theory: a product is made/grown in Australia - the All Right Vegemite book for example. It is them exported overseas and altered - once it arrives at the North Pole, Santa's elves wrap the All Right Vegemite book, and writes a tag in wobbly cursive. The product is then imported back into Australia - the All Right Vegemite book arrives back in Australia via sleigh - or by ute as per my header picture, Rudolph leads the way, Santa squeezes himself down the Coonara heater's chimney, and places it under the tree, drinking a can of VB on the way out. There you have it, an economic theory applied to Santa.Who said I didn't pay any attention in class?

I digress. This year, I lost my Christmas spirit at the megamall. I went to buy the bulk of the presents at my local shopping centre last Saturday. Exhausting. Parents trying to control their children, threatening them with Santa to encourage good behaviour. Really poor customer service - and they wonder why we do our shopping online now.

And there is too much choice.I think that is my problem. Too much choice. The stores yell at customers to buy things. Encourage greed - General Pants has a sign that reads "Good things come to those who want".

This makes me feel sick. Apart from the clever and eerily sung Bonds ad, I'm hating the commercialism of it all. Christmas feels like a competition of who can buy the best present, spend the most money, rack up the most frequent flyer points and give the most extravagant gift. I just want to get everyone meaningful and affordable presents - and hope the recipients love what I've chosen. And ensure I have money left over to pay for my rent.

And also, there are not not enough book stores. Who thought the store that sells the most books would be fashion chain Portmans? I've been getting my books from the social club book shelf at work. Or Portmans and Sportsgirl. I know.

I asked my Mum what I should buy Dad for Christmas. She said she didn't know. "But you live with him" I said. Gosh. I asked Dad what he wants for Christmas. "Nothing" he said. And so for the man who wants nothing, I shall donate to a cause.

And that is where I found my Christmas spirit. Causes and helping others. I went to my local shopping strip after the megamall. Found some beautiful gifts that through purchasing, support local businesses - and come with good service! I bought some cute toys to put in the charity box a work. I've given to the Salvation Army Band on the street. And yesterday I found this - Gingerbread Village by Epicure at Melbourne City Gallery. It is an amazing work of pastry art that is making a difference to the community.

I took some photos on my iPhone but I really encourage you to visit it for yourself if you're in Melbourne. There is so much detail - it is so beautiful. Gingerbread Village took chefs over two months to create. I love the Melbourne landmarks, and the cheese shop.

You can see how it was made here.

When you visit Gingerbread Village you can make a donation to the Starlight Foundation and write your name on a cardboard gingerbread man to place on a Christmas tree. So beautiful. And a great cause.

Have you lost your Christmas spirit this year? Has all the fun been taken out of Christmas because of commercialism?


  1. I avoid the shops and do it online. I know what you mean about the over the top commercialism. Those gingerbread house rock xx

  2. Oh WOW! I LOVE the gingerbread MCG!!! I have to figure out how to get down and see it! Awesome!

  3. OMG I adore the ginegerbread village and wish I were in Melbourne right now. I am feeling very Christmassy here in the USA but this year decided to forgo commercialism and have a handmade christmas. I wrote about it here: http://tinyurl.com/d6or3kj

  4. I'm normally so organised and all done by the first week in December but Christmas has crept up on me this year. Fingers crossed it will be finished off today. The shops are a nightmare though and Canberra is set up so the vast majority of sores are only in the mega malls.

    The gingerbread is delightful. One of these days I'm determined to make a house.

  5. I'm feeling much the same way, alas. Christmas is apparently around the corner and I have bought next to nothing in the way of presents. I don't want to go to the shops at all (I wait until late at night before I even venture to the supermarket). It's all very argh-tastic.

    It's good to know there are some antedote to the general atmosphere of rampant consumerism, though.

  6. It's been a mellow Christmas lead up for me. Lots to reflect upon.

    I loved the gingerbread village!

    SSG xxx

    Sydney Shop Girl blog

  7. Once kids and parents pass a certain age, shopping for them is a nightmare. Parents already have everything, kids no longer babies don't need toys and are too young for many things. Books are always good.

    I LOVE that Bonds Ad!!

  8. I am baking gingerbread cookies now actually so this is some very handy inspiration from the gingerbread village!

    I do think that Christmas is way to commercialised these days and I try to stay away from the shops. It is just too stressful...

  9. I decided to go small this year and drastically capped my spending. I finished my shopping in record time and was forced to be moe creative. I actually ended up buying quite a few books from fishpond this year. And my Nanna, Poppy, and Grandma are each getting hand-baked treats like shortbread, Christmas cake, and lemon curd.

    Tomorrow I have to go to Medicare, which means I will have to enter a PLACE OF SHOPPING in the week before Christmas. I need some Valium already...

  10. Wow Carly, here we are in July 2013 and recalling that amazing village. I also attended this display and thought it was so awesome !! DC


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