When Santa hats and cottony snow make their way into the displays of almost every shop in the city, you know that the Christmas shopping spree has begun. The city folk have been out and about in earnest, especially over the weekend, trying to cram as much shopping as they can into a limited amount of time. While the crowds at major shopping areas don’t compare to the Diwali rush, there is a fair amount of increase in shoppers ,say storekeepers.
Shopping areas like T Nagar and Anna Nagar have fully stocked up to cope with the Christmas rush and numerous fancy items are found all along the streets of Pondy Bazaar. Venkatesh, a shopkeeper, says, “This year, there are many new varieties of stars that have arrived. The biggest hit has been the one with Santa in the front and back”. He was also confident about the rise in the sale of the ceramic nativity sets, that have hit the market this year.
Anna Nagar, on the other hand, is seeing a more family centric crowd since it is a residential area. Shops selling decorations have the biggest crowds, but clothes too are a major item of purchase, say shopkeepers. “Many of those who celebrate Christmas tend to splurge around this time of the year. Anarkalis and sarees are the mainstay for women,” says a sales assistant at a popular clothing store. Men are going the formal way with suits, coats and blazers being the hot picks this season. Sales and offers on suits have had a good response, say managers.
Bringing in the Christmas spirit are the myriad decorations that have hit the market from places like Taiwan, Korea and China. Marcia of Evergreen Christmas, one of the most popular decoration shops in the city, said that the best-selling items this year are the Santa and snowman dolls. “We also have many reindeer themed decorations and the transparent baubles are new. Poinsettia wreaths and bunches are also popular,” she says.
Prices for the decorations can range from `100 to a few thousand rupees. A fibre optic pine needle banner that lights up wishing everyone a merry Christmas (` 5000), is quite beautiful while the frosted Christmas tree is the newest on the block. Marcia also points out a nativity scene, imported from Israel that is one of their more prized items on sale.
Out on the streets, vendors have begun marketing Santa Claus masks and hats; they are mostly seen at various signals in the city. Rajesh, one of the vendors at Doveton signal, says, “Business has slowly been picking up. We target vehicles that have children, as they like such things.”
(With inputs from MA Yazhiniyan and Franklin Israel)