Harrods’ department for Christmas decorations carries a diverse array of themes. On display today are Woodland, Candy Land and Victorian ornaments, for example. One of the most novel groups includes elf ornaments with bases that work like jigsaw puzzle pieces or have a crossword puzzle printed on the back. But a major category missing at Harrod’s was also missing in the other London stores and shops: Traditional.
While there are plenty of fairies and angels, very few representations of either Santa or Father Christmas can be found. Snowmen, too, are conspicuously absent. Not only that, but religious themes have no exposure what so ever.
It is not surprising that Harrod’s does not offer a religious theme. After all, this store caters to a wide range of customers from around the world who celebrate a number of holidays in different ways. But it is not only Harrod’s that lacks a nod to the most non-secular subject of the Season and London is not the only city where religion is not in the mix. It was not seen in Paris, either, and little seen in Hamburg.
The complete lack of religious icons confirms the final phase of a trend that began several years ago. In this approach, the expression of Christmas in decor represents a generic observation of a season. Decor for the Holidays is more about a mood now. It celebrates winter, magic, fantasy and surprise. It is this feeling of delight that is captured in ornaments and trim that often follow trends for the rest of the home. Connections with mainstream decor trends, especially those related to color, make Holiday products more compelling.
Now I’m off to dinner with new friends at a French restaurant in Islington. It is clearly my fault, but I have eaten some of the worst food of my life on this trip. I hope this turns around tonight.