For such a culturally and ethnically diverse city, Melbourne celebrates Christmas in a way that no other Australian capital city does. Being in the centre of the now crowded city brought back memories of Christmas in the Sydney of my childhood. At some stage of the Midsummer feast, we would make the trek into the city and stand mesmerised before the department store windows who had accessed every creative flair of their staff with no money spared to produce truly beautiful and inspired results.
In the digital age this may seem old fashioned but this for me, represented the magic of Christmas.
Sadly, on those occasions when I have visited the city as an adult at Yuletide, the windows have had minimal displays.
Not so in Melbourne where the City Council has invested money and time in creating festive displays throughout the city
But its the traditions which have been maintained for decades which draw my interest. I met my friend outside the Myer window display on a day which would climb to the low thirties. Imaging we could have a slow saunter along the famous window displays we were met with large queues forming around the block, managed by ushers with police back up! Clearly queue jumping a Myer Christmas Display queue was dangerous business! You could feel the excitement of the little ones as it was transmitted throughout the area. Adults smiled at the children’s joy and excitement.
My friend and I decided that the hour long wait in the heat would be excessive. We hopped a tram to visit Gertrude and Smith streets, diverse and dynamic inner city areas whose up-market boutiques and hip eateries jostled with recycled and bargain shops.
On the way back, it seemed like the queue had grown and yet in spite of the heat, bonhomie still glowed through the throng as they looked forward to admiring in wonder the artisans’ skills in bringing to life the ancient stories of Yuletide.