DECK THE HALLS: Lindy Wilson, Glenn Greacen, Lesley Schreiber and Genevera Hooper of the Eltham Village Gallery with beautiful Christmas lights up, and the nativity scene.
DECK THE HALLS: Lindy Wilson, Glenn Greacen, Lesley Schreiber and Genevera Hooper of the Eltham Village Gallery with beautiful Christmas lights up, and the nativity scene. Mireille Merlet-Shaw

September ‘Tis the season to be jolly

THE final touches are being put on the Eltham Village Gallery's famous and much-loved Christmas display.

This is the "fifth or sixth year" that owners Genevera Hooper and Lesley Schreiber have been decorating the gallery windows.

How early is too early for Christmas sales?

For the first time, this year's display features a nativity scene.

Close friend Glenn "Frosty" Greacen was once again the brains behind the very detailed design.

"He is just a Christmas nut," Ms Hooper said.

"That's why we call him Frosty - he loves Christmas and he comes up here every year from his home at Woy Woy to do our Christmas display.

"We love setting this up.

"It's for the kids, really, and for our community."

The display will be turned on from October 1, and will be pulled down on New Year's Eve.

Ms Hooper said she never tired of seeing children's reactions to the intricate display.

"There's one little girl who, every time she looks at the windows, just points and says, 'Wow'," she said.

"The effort that Glenn puts in is just incredible.

"The stable for the nativity scene has tiny wood palings, which he brought with him, and we've drilled thousands of holes and put fairy lights through everything.

"We've also got reindeer and apple blossom trees.

"People sometimes ask us why we don't keep the Christmas display all year, but then it wouldn't be as special.

"This is something that people really look forward to.

"And this year it really is just spectacular."

While the first day of October might seem too early to be getting into the Christmas spirit, Ms Hooper said the weeks would fly past pretty quickly.

How early is too early for Christmas sales?

WHEN we posted a photo on our Facebook page showing Christmas products appearing on shelves last week, the reaction from our readers was strong.

Many people thought September was too early.

"It's way too early, I haven't had my birthday yet..." wrote one.

"Totally ridiculous, nothing to look forward to closer to Christmas," wrote another.

The president of the Australian Retailers Association, Roger Gillespie said the ARA had "no hard and fast policies" about when to start selling Christmas.

"Personally, I think putting up decorations before the end of November is too early. It dilutes the importance of the occasion."

Others welcomed the early arrival of the silly season. One local reader, Marcos Fernandes of Dunoon, and his wife Kate have their own small business, Old Mixed Spices, and they are seeing Christmas shoppers already.

"We're making Christmas Hampers to sell at our stall at Lismore Carboot Market and they have been selling well," Mr Fernandes said.

"It's not too early for people to start buying the hampers, as soon as we put them out, they sell," he said.

- Megan Kinninment



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