It’s season to decorate early: why all our Christmases have come at once | Australia news

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Every year on December 1, Gabrielle Derrick unveils one Christmas windows at her regional Victorian café.

This year, however, she felt an unwavering desire to decorate early.

“Everyone needed a little extra Christmas cheer this year,” she said. “We have a lot of people asking about it all year round, so we thought we’d bring the joy early.”

In mid-November, the Old Mates Café in Romsey, in the Macedon area, released its special Grinch-themed Christmas window, handcrafted by the team and complete with a ball-shaped, slanted tree, Santa’s fireplace and dog Max on a large red chair.

“Society loves it,” Derrick said. “We’ve had a lot of customers come in happy after stopping to watch.”

The small town is not the only one rushing to show off their Christmas decorations in advance.

Once a weekend sufferer, families around Australia drag the tree forward and light it weeks before the turn of the summer, either overwhelmed by the festive mood or wanting a “shit” year to be over.

Ambiance Christmas Shop Melbourne owner Mel Martino usually sets up his Christmas tree in December. This year it has already been around for several weeks.

Martino’s shop, on the outskirts of Queen Victoria Market, has not had international or interstate tourists to boost sales since retail reopened in Victoria. But she said it had been a “much livelier” November than usual.

“As soon as we opened again we were busy,” she said. “We have been locked up for so long that people now long to go. Many customers have said they set up trees early because they are afraid that if we go into lockdown again, they will not be able to buy what they want.

“I also think people are just ready to have a wonderful Christmas. We’re all over lockdowns and Covid… it’s almost like it’s the first Christmas.”

Regional Victorian retiree Jan Milne joined a number of families in her neighborhood and hung up decorations earlier this month. She described the feelings of many in the state as that they just want 2021 to be over.

“It’s been such a shitty year … we and others locally just need a little joy and relief from everything,” she said.

“I want this year to be gone. Australia as I felt it has changed, and we have to find ourselves again. I just smile when I see Christmas lights.”

Melbourne’s mother of three, Kelly Jarvis, said her children had been smiling since she set up the tree in early November. They were “so excited” that she bought two more trees for their bedroom.

“The kids have not had much fun this year, so we wanted to maximize the excitement with Christmas,” she said.

Jack Walker, head of Moorooduc Christmas Tree Farm, said the first weekend of November 20 saw sales 20% higher than the same time last year.

“We could see from conversations that people were planning to come early,” he said. “I think people more than anything else hope for a really good Christmas and that they find ways to make it special.”

Kmart Chadstone’s boss Tabitha Johnson said there had been greater demand than usual for Christmas items, especially decorations such as baubles and hanging candles. But delays in international deliveries had also limited the amount of stock shown.

“We had a huge shortage of getting out of the lock in October, everyone was interested and knew they would get their goods early,” she said.

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“But we have also experienced delays and have not had as many drops as usual … especially when everyone is looking forward to it.”

It’s not just locked states that are cheering.

Brisbane woman Susan Cullinan normally waits until the beginning of December to pull out her Christmas boxes and “gets anxious” if she sees decorations coming out too soon. But for the first time in her “significantly long life”, she was drawn to them in November.

“Last Christmas was a non-event because I was working on the Red Cross’ Covid reaction in Europe, and I ended up working all day,” she explains. With just an early morning call to my family home to see them eating seafood and drinking champagne.

“When I’m locked up in central Covid away from my loved ones in dark, cold Hungary, I feel like I’m popping out of the Covid forest now … this year I’m more than ready for Christmas.”

Western Australian Tarnya Widdicombe said her suburb of Perth had been filled with Christmas lights for weeks. “I think Christmas was a little short last year, and [it was] stressful, she said.

“People want to celebrate more this year. There is some hope that we will return to normal – the opening date is on the horizon and the vaccination rate is high.”

For others, this Christmas is about making up for lost time. Wyndham Vale man Brett Lockwood’s house is usually a must see on any light tour.

Last year, however, Victoria’s Covid restrictions forced him to cancel his annual tour – which includes a life-size Thomas tanker truck adorned with Christmas lights.

“I was upset every time someone drove past the house,” he said. “This year, I just can not wait to see all the smiling faces … from both children and older children.”

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