I’m not going to say anything cynical in this post. Though perhaps in saying that I already have. But isn’t it (lowers his voice in case anyone likely to be offended overhears) … isn’t the first week of November a bit early to be putting the Christmas lights up?
Two weeks before and a week after was the rule when we were kids. Certainly, if your Christmas decorations went up any time prior to December 1st there was something a little unusual going on. Put them up in the first week of November and you’d get a reputation for weirdness quicker than you could say “Ho Ho Ho!” People driving past would think you were one of those families that have their Christmas lights up all year round because that’s the wacky kind of fun-lovers that you are. So why – and I’m not being cynical – why should public displays of festivity be any different?
We could speculate as to why, but we won’t. Let’s just say that in Hong Kong, to not be celebrating a festival or promoting the next one, is the equivalent of sitting on the bus, twiddling your thumbs, waiting to get to the party. As soon as Mid-Autumn Festival is over, it’s time for Halloween; as soon as Halloween is finished with, it’s time for Christmas; then it’s Chinese New Year, then Easter, then summer with its Dragon Boats and Bun Festivals, and before you know it, you’re moaning about Christmas coming too early again.
There’s more to come of course. The Hong Kong WinterFest begins on the 29th November and will see some kind of sparkly centrepiece unveiled in Statue Square in Central. In the past few years – and I’m still not being cynical – the displays have included Christmas trees sponsored by the likes of Swarovski and Tiffany. There will also, no doubt, be some kind of monstrosity erected outside Times Square in celebration of the birth of little baby Jesus and the annual bounty that he brings. There will be Christmas music in Wellcome, shoppers on the streets, and plenty of expats will be puking out a toast or two in the alleys and gutters around Lan Kwai Fong. Maybe it’s time for a holiday. Ho Ho Ho!