I’m off to Ennis tomorrow as part of the Devil in the Red Dress push…more book signing and interviews in a quick round trip.  Last time I was there I was researching the book, this time it’s published and on the shelves.

There’s less pressure this time round but it’s still a busy enough schedule…why the train trip needs two changes I will never understand!  Plenty of people want to go to Ennis, why do they make it so awkward to get there?

Still I’m looking forward to it.  It’s a pretty little town, not to mention the fact it’s the setting for my action…I’m also taking the opportunity to catch up with some friends so it’ll be fun.

In between interviews this week I’ve been trying to make some headway into the whole Christmas palaver.  The Christmas windows have been up for the last couple of weeks and as usual they’re light years away from the fairytale visions that used to make a trip in to go Christmas shopping so much fun years ago.  It’s something that bugs me every year.

Back then you could go and look at the windows for Brown Thomas, Clerys or the Daddy of them all, Switzers and see moving puppets telling a Christmas story.  These days it’s all about making a stylish buck.  The shop owners won’t give the hard sell a rest for a couple of weeks during a season when people will always go shopping regardless.

It all changed several years ago when Switzers closed down and Brown Thomas took over.  The Switzers window used to be famous.  It would be unveiled without much pomp at around the same time as the Christmas lights went up on Grafton Street.

First look would always be at night.  I can remember stopping on my way home from a night out when I was in my twenties and the window was there in all it’s glory.  There were a few of us there and we all stopped and listened to the Christmas tunes belting out across the icy street and walked slowly along the length of the shop watching the animated story unfold in each successive window.

There were dozens of people there by the time we got to the last window.  Everyone was smiling and talking and laughing and it was suddenly just that little bit closer to Christmas and a little bit of cynicism had melted away.

Those days are long gone now though.  In these times of economic uncertainty I notice that even the more ornate displays carry price tags (once banished for the festive period).  Arnotts on Henry St has probably made the best effort with a miniature city glowing around the designer clad dummies.

Brown Thomas, where the Switzers windows used to be is this  year just a celebration of consumerism.  Maybe I’m being needlessly nostalgic but I think it’s sad that those windows are consigned to an Ireland long gone.  The Celtic Tiger has died or is at least in serious decline, it would have been nice to see shop owners do something just for the fun of it…something to make the kids happy and make it seem a little more like Christmas.

A gesture like that might even encourage more people into their shops than dangling shiny goods in front of their noses that will just put more strain on the credit card.

Now ok, this Christmas I’d rather people concentrated on buying books (I have a vested interest after all) but I miss the Christmas windows and I’d like to see them back!  Who’s with me?