Uncle Holly Saves Christmas by Kathleen Franklin
Christmas shopping traditions
Jayne wears her Uncle Holly badge in this photo, December The rampant consumerism at this time of year can seem excessive, almost overwhelming, and yet the avalanche of marketing and merchandise is not entirely new, as Christmas shopping has been big business for generations. Well over a century ago, advertisements for seasonal goods loomed large on billboards, sandwich boards and posters, filled handbills and periodicals, while many shops began stocking their festive fare in September or October. Commercial announcements in the press date back centuries, with pictorial advertisements becoming more common in the lates, providing Victorian readers with a visual impression of articles previously described in words. By the early twentieth century daily newspapers, special-interest magazines and other printed publications regularly featured Christmas notices that combined eye-catching images, bold brand names and earnest captions to draw attention to products ranging from mops to Meccano.
Midwinter, Yule, Christmas…. The identity and appearance of the central holiday figure known as Father Christmas has changed significantly over time. Even in Victorian Christian imagery his robes were always green…. There are links with the Wild Hunt and Cernunnos too. These two mighty rulers fight for supremacy as the Wheel of the Year turns each season. Once the Summer Solstice arrives, the Holly King returns to do battle with the old king, and defeats him. The Holly King then rules until Yule, when the cycle continues.
Shop with confidence
It was just up to the creative team to make his comeback tour perfectly Selfridges; the rest would come. For exactly years, the Oxford Street institution has been a yearround focus for window shoppers, but the festive season is the bighitter.
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This was a day of feverishly anticipated awe. The Tube train journey and thrill of what was to come had my stomach in knots. The scenes were a source of pure magic as I stood in my best velvetcollared frock coat, nose pressed close fogging up the windows, eyes two buttons of wonderment as I looked in jaw-dropped glee. Simply heaven. A pineapple juice and a lamb chop smothered in mint sauce for me made it a day that would rival a fortnight in Narnia.