The footpath in front of St Joseph’s Metropolitan Cathedral at Palayam is lined up with Christmas cribs ready for sale. The cribs, of different sizes and shapes, are made of grass and figurines to be displayed inside them are also displayed.
The smallest of the cribs are priced at Rs 300, which goes up to Rs 900. “The materials are collected from the suburbs of the district as they are not available in the city. They are made and brought here for the sales,” says Kumar T, a vendor.
“These days, people don’t have enough time to spare for making a crib. It’s a matter of availability and cost-effectiveness - the readymade cribs are really useful,” says David Lukose, a customer.
All set for festive merriment, the demand for not only cribs, but also greeting cards, Xmas trees, cakes and other decorations is also high. The price for Christmas cards in the market ranges between Rs 5 and Rs 130. But the vendors say that they are not making much profit. “The sales which began in early December will continue till New Year. Compared to previous years, the turnover is low,” says K Unni, who sells greeting cards in the city.
Xmas trees are available in the market from Rs 75 onwards, which come in a table-top size. Of which, the most sought-after ones are the Xmas trees decorated with optical light. The minimum price in the market for them is Rs 1,800, which goes up to Rs 7,000. “From last year onwards, pine trees in white and green colours are in big demand, which will be sold off before Christmas eve. The prices are between Rs 250 and Rs 3,000, where the tallest one will be of some eight feet height,” says Shahul Hameed S of Ramla Fancy at Palayam.
The market for cakes has, as usual, plum cakes ruling the roost with butter scotch, vanilla and fresh cream varieties high on the list. Their prices start at Rs 300 per kg. “All cakes are favourites among institutions and establishments to gift this season, which comprises a good portion of the sales,” says Mohammed Sherif, manager of Supreme Bakers, Kuravankonam. Also available are ghee cake and rich plum cake. Decorations, mostly for beautifying Christmas tree, such as guitars, bells and ribbons, are in the market from Rs 2.50 onwards. Santa gown and stars also are in demand.