Monday, 22 July 2024

Have I pulled my Christmas cracker too early?

Written by  Dec 11, 2022

So here it is, Merry Christmas everybody's having fun. Look to the future now, it's only just begun. Have I started to celebrate too early? Will my Christmas tree wilt and die before the big day? Listening to my radio or watching adverts on TV then I am actually behind the curve. And as far as the English side of my family is concerned I am almost late with my preparations. 

Christmas when I was a child pretty much started with my birthday. Yes, I am one of those unfortunate people who have a birthday in December. I always remember that fatal sentence as a child “So, this present is for your birthday and Christmas.” Wait. What?

As my birthday arrived so did the Christmas tree and decorations. Our house looked like Santa’s grotto. Thankfully this was before an energy crisis and rising electricity bills, so hopefully my parents weren’t hit with a bill the size of Croatia’s foreign debt.

I always remember Christmas as a happy time. A time of expectation, of family and of love. My family has always been a little over the top, but in a nice way, as far as Christmas is concerned. Already I have received a whole bunch of photos of their decorated homes and shining trees. They really pull all the stops out at this time of the year.

This year we will once again by flying back for the festive season. Yes, after spending almost three months walking (and my knees still ache) the longest path in the UK we are going back.

Although we have already seen a great deal of the festive fun. For in October, and certainly November, the celebrations had started. “Are you with the group for tomorrow evening,” said one friendly receptionist at a hotel as we checked in. “We could be,” I joked. “But we aren’t,” I smiled. “Oh sorry I thought you were with the Christmas party group,” she said. The calendar behind her read the 6th of November. “Sorry, did you say Christmas party? You’re a little early aren’t you,” I said with a look of puzzlement. “It isn’t our first Christmas party this year. We had our Christmas Dinner menus printed a few weeks ago and already have a ton of bookings,” she seemed a little apologetic. Apparently they were even going to give presents, pull crackers and wear party hats, more than a month away from Christmas! And this hotel wasn’t alone, almost every pub, café and hotel had adverts for Christmas and special menus and deals.

“We even one booking at the end of January,” concluded the receptionist as we took our keys. Now that is spreading the festive spirit.

This is one clear difference between my two lives. Here the decorations are up and the festival has started, but nowhere near the same intensity as on the island, not even close. We seem to keep going down the route of an Austrian style Christmas market, already seen and already experienced. It is a shame that we can’t come up with a new and locally grown Christmas experience.

We have so much to offer, so many traditions and customs that could and indeed should be in first place. If I want an Alpine Christmas, then I will go to Vienna. A little creativity is all it takes, not more money. Imagine the whole of the Old City shining brightly of a December evening, it just lends itself to a complete Christmas winter wonderland. So let’s make it feel like you’ve arrived in the north pole in the south of Croatia.

Of course there is competition from Zagreb and Split but they don’t have the aces that we have, we just don’t know how to use them. Let’s get the hotels full, planes flying in and create an atmosphere that will draw people from all over the world. A home-grown atmosphere that both celebrates Christmas and the uniqueness of Dubrovnik. We all need a lift from the past few years, so why not next year make it a bombastic festive period. Forget the copy/paste and go our own way, we have the knowledge, the logistics and the time, all we need is the will.

For where there is will there is always a way.

Read more Englishman in Dubrovnik…well, if you really want to             

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