You know, the sort that you hang across walls and ceilings at Christmas time, and that open out like accordions?
For several years in a row now, I have only been able to find them in one shop within miles of my home-- that is, Euro Giant in the Northside Shopping Centre in Coolock.
There is a whole shop dedicated (pretty much) to Christmas decorations in the Omni centre in Santry and I couldn't find any there. Nor could I find any in the discount shop that had shelves of other Christmas decorations, in Tesco, or in any of the several other shops that sold Christmas decorations in the Omni Centre. And I knew there will be none in my local Ballymun Shopping Centre without even having to look (I've looked before).
Even looking at the other decorations available made me feel rather depressed. They are so itty bitty. Tiny little figures and baubles, plastic wreaths the size of onion rings, fibre-optic Christmas trees you could crush in your fist, and so on.
It's not that I think Christmas decorations should be big, necessarily. But they should be expansive.
Is the idea that people will have to buy more to fill up a room and a house? Surely not, since the Infallible Laws of the Market are meant to guarantee that, where there is a demand, there will be a supply, and surely there would be a supply of the old-fashioned foil garlands if people still wanted them?
Or is there some crazy idea abroad that Christmas decorations should be restrained, understated and sophisticated?
Yuk! Yuk! Yuk!
Come to think of it, I can go along with that idea if you are going to have purely religious ornaments. A crib, an Advent calender, a Jesse tree, an Advent candle-- that would be admirably refined and simple.
But, if you are going to have modern, secular ornaments as well, it seems inexcusable to me not to make Christmas a time of gaudy splendour and abundance. A time of red and gold foil and fuzzy tinsel. To introduce tastefulness into Christmas seems to be contrary to its childish, democratic, hearty spirit.