You may be wondering how to celebrate Christmas in a time of economic austerity. And if you are, you are not alone.
With the country in the grip of post-war rationing, George Orwell pondered on whether it was appropriate to indulge in the habitual excesses of the festive season and concluded that “a deliberately austere Christmas would be an absurdity”.
So how will you make your Christmas a day of “fierce pleasures” (as Orwell has it) when all around us the prevailing messages are of economic gloom and doom rather than peace and goodwill?
My suggestion to tackle the current economic climate and the imperative to celebrate Christmas is simple: buy your presents from your local creative economy.
Avoid the “mass market” brands and visit some local cultural attractions. Instead of the bustle of the city, you can enjoy, as a family, experiences to remember and do your present shopping in the relative calm of, say, a museum shop afterwards.
Take the kids to the Museum of the Jewellery Quarter and buy someone you love some jewellery from the wealth of work available there and in the Quarter.
Go for a day trip to Stratford one Saturday, travel from Moor Street station and take in the Christmas Market.
Go to a concert and check out the Centerpiece Christmas Exhibition at Symphony Hall where talented young artists like Helen Puxley of Pogo Jewellery are showing wonderful, affordable pieces that you won’t find in a mall.
And if that does not appeal – go for a solution that means you can stay home – check out www.madeinmoseley.com – for the work of Moseley-based makers, buy tickets online for a trip to Town Hall or Symphony Hall or gift vouchers for the Hippodrome.
That way we all win: you celebrate Christmas in a peaceful and affordable way and Santa might bring some local economic recovery for us all in his sack!
* Following my last column and Fierce Earth’s award for Outstanding Business Development, I was delighted to hear that fellow Creative City award winners Stans Café now have a base at the AE Harris Factory in Hockley – let’s hope this starts a trend for exciting art spaces in the city.
‘Be creative this Christmas – it could be one to remember’ is Helga’s new column for the Birmingham Post, it follows on from ‘Making Birmingham a “funky town”‘ and ‘Time for Birmingham to support the independent arts’.