‘Tis the season…

Some of the very first Christmas lights and window displays are out, with Christmas just a little over six weeks away. Designed into Eastern tapestries the light displays at Galleries Lafayette (which is a shop-til-you-drop sized complex in Paris) are deliciously impressive. Beyond that,well, how you see the light display is really in the eye of the beholder.

For little kids and adults of a joyful and youthful disposition, the animated window displays – some accompanied with show tunes by Liza Minnelli, Gene Kelly and Abba among others – are welcome entertainment as the weather gets colder and moodier.

For the academic-sophisticate, it’s a given. Galleries Lafayette is a shameful symbol of all that is wrong with the world today. The excessive wattage dedicated to those lights stares in the face of economic austerity and not to forget the environment. ” How environmentally efficient are those lights?” certainly crosses the mind of some people. Viewed from the ivory tower, the first lights of Christmas are undoubtedly a gaudy act of worship to avarice and wanton capitalism. And so the interpretations can go on and on.

Yet, for the student in Paris – the displays are at the least, a welcome distraction – and at most, a depressing reminder. For the positive minded student, the display should be well received as a means of escapism from the world of mid-term exams, papers and presentations. But, in the most part, the first Christmas lights – and the window displays prepared by some of the major fashion and design houses in the world area crystal clear reminder of student poverty for this sad, sad demographic that this blogger belongs to… It’s a reminder that it’s still very much a rich man’s world, this one.

Without a shortage of beautifully clad mannequins in 3000 Euro shirts and obscenely priced Christmas gift suggestions – Galleries Lafayette is a great destination for modestly-resourced students to do a bit of ‘leche vitrines’ as it is called around these parts – window shopping. Or, more literally translated, to do a little bit of ‘licking of windows’. Sigh.

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