Tuesday, 4 December 2018

Slow you down

It's probably age, but there are moments when it feels like we're increasingly out of control. We're only in the first days of December and apparently many have done their Christmas Shopping whilst the emails for spring ranges are increasing by the day.

It's not all down to Black Friday and Cyber Monday, for here in the village we were guilty of a very early Lights Switch-on seemingly weeks ago. They look great but when you think that when they are removed in January they will have been up for nearly 2 months - that's a sixth of the year. In our defence the date was driven by the tide. Not ours, but down the road in Wells, where Father Christmas arrives from the sea and can only so do when tide and darkness coincide.

At home we went and chose our Christmas Tree 10 days ago, but it's still happily growing with its friends in a local field and won't come in the house for another 10 days. You could argue that this diminishes its significance but it will be present for a week before plus the 12 days which I think is about right and actually makes that time seem suitably different.

Here in the gallery, I succumbed last weekend and following my normal pattern installed some suitably low-key and tasteful gestures towards the festive season. This is partly peer pressure - if everybody else has lights you are likely to be thought truly sad if you're the one who doesn't - and partly a commercial reality, for without a bit of sparkle one might be overlooked.

Historically, whilst sales of ceramics and - in the days of our Norwich gallery - jewellery peaked in December, paintings saw surprising sales after Christmas. This pattern now seems to be changing, with increasing sales of art as a gift. My reading of this is that in these days of uncertainty and growing antipathy to waste and pointless expenditure, paintings and prints are seen as a gift that is more than a token, a gift that requires thought and consideration and one that may give at least as much pleasure in the months and years ahead as it does when it is first given and received.

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