To the practising Roman Catholic, December 8th is a significant date, the feast of the Immaculate Conception of Mary and a holy day of obligation. In my young days it was a school holiday. For some reason it always rained. Not just normal rain, but driving slanted sheets of rain. It would soak you to the skin in seconds.
Black Friday, the fourth Friday in November a day after Thanksgiving Day, is believed to be the biggest and the busiest shopping day of the year in the US.
In the Ireland of my childhood, the 8th of December was the equivalent and feast of Immense Consumerism when the whole of the country arrived in the capital City of Dublin. Back in those days we had no late night shopping and the doors to the stores remained tightly locked on Sundays!
It was the day when we made that special thrill filled visit to see Santa Clause. Clerys was the store of choice for my mother. We were up and fasting for early morning mass and after a quick breakfast wrapped up yet again and on our way to town. The idea was for us to see Santa before coach and train loads of people arrived from the country.
The Christmas themed windows were the nearest thing we knew to Fantasy land. We had no television and it was long before Disneyland. Animals that nodded a head or a Santa that waved a hand were the limit, but wonderful in our eyes. There were other stores with Santa Grottos, Arnotts, McBirneys, Pims and the most exotic and expensive of them all was Switzers. The queue for Switzers soon snaked through the store and out the main door into Grafton Street and back around the corner into Wicklow Street.
Once we collected our gifts from the man in red, it was back on the bus for the journey home.
Did you travel to Dublin on 8th December? What was it like for a non Dub?
PS, Does anyone remember the moving crib in a basement in Parnell Square? Maybe that is the reason so many people in Ireland became fond of moving statues! 😉