Merry seasonal wintervus festivage greetings

I am in two minds about Christmas. I adore the day itself. And despite the fact that I am a Pastafarian, I feel no contradiction in celebrating Christmas, despite what Malc says.

After all, without Christmas — or any similar winter festival — these months would be fairly rotten all round. It is good sense to inject some cheer into the long, cold, dark winter nights. It is, of course, no coincidence that Christmas just so happens to fall at the same time as an ancient Pagan festival.

But while I enjoy Christmas Day, what I really don’t like is the run-up to Christmas. This brings nothing but stress and pain. I don’t see the point in getting stressed out over something that is supposed to make you feel better. So I tend to eschew traditional elements of pre-Christmas such as Christmas cards and the like.

This year, the pre-Christmas period has brought with it an added stress: the slow and humiliating death of my workplace, Woolworths. The shelves have been largely empty for weeks now, and products have been replaced by tacky, generic (Hilco-supplied) “closing down” posters. Friends and customers frequently tell me how sad it is to see the store like that, and I have to agree with them. Christmas cheer, like many Woolworths products, has been in short supply this year.

Even though I wasn’t exactly pinning my career hopes on Woolies, I am still terribly sorry to see it go. When I got my first card this year, though, it cheered me up enough to decide to participate the the Christmas card tradition. It looks like other people have done the same. My tally of cards received has gone up from five in 2006 to nine in 2007 to twenty this year. Even then, I have given out more cards than I have received, which is unusually festive of me.

So in that spirit, I want to wish all of this blog’s readers all the very best for the Christmas period and beyond.

Apologies, too, for the radio silence. I have been extraordinarily busy recently. Despite the imminent closure of Woolies, I’m currently working there more than ever. I will be straight back to work on Boxing Day, but I won’t complain too much. I just have to make the most of it because in another couple of weeks the work won’t be there at all. I will write more about Woolworths after we close down (which, incidentally, is on 5 January, although we’ll be sticking around for a few days to convert the unit back into an empty shell for someone to buy).

As well as that, I have been juggling a couple of other projects and of course I am on the job hunt for real now. So spare time has been in short supply, meaning that the blog has been put on the back burner. This is an uncertain period of my life, and I still need to work out how the blog will fit in to my future plans. Once I figure it out, activity on the blog will hopefully increase. I have a few posts I want to squeeze out before the new year so I don’t intend on it remaining silent any more at all.

In the meantime, to bring this post back to its original point, have a merry Christmas. (Or Chrifsmas.)


  1. Merry Christmas, Stephen, and best wishes in finding good replacement work. Hope the other Woolies staff get replacement work too. I will always remember Woolworths fondly, especially as it was my most reliable and cheerful source of Fairtrade chocolate.

  2. I was curiously wondering who did those horrible closing down posters when I last went there seeing how quickly they went up – the branding team hopefully would not have had a “fire sale” template.

    Managed to get hold of a 3ft christmas tree taking pride of place on my desk beside my workstation for £1 at my local Nottingham branch the other day which works out well.Shame they shut down , my parents always got school uniform for then every August but they seem to have no real USP so seeing them go is no real surprise.

  3. Thanks Alianora and Francois.

    Alianora, I will always remember Woolworths. I am sad to see it go not because I work there, but because I am genuinely fond of it as a shop. I hope we all find jobs, but I fear that it will be difficult in the current climate. Three other big name retailers have gone into administration in the past few days, and I’m sure more still will go under after Christmas. It’s a terrible time to be working in retail.

    Francois, I am pretty sure almost all of the posters are mass-produced, designed for use in any store. Hilco specialises in closing shops down, and few of the posters carry Woolworths branding, and those that do clearly had the Woolworths logo tacked on almost as an afterthought. And I am pretty sure I have seen the very same “x% off” cards in another shop (though I can’t for the life of me work out which shop it was). The signs are certainly nothing like the sort of thing Woolworths would have designed themselves.

    When I come home from work, my mum sometimes says, “How is Woolies-Hilco?” It does very much feel like a different shop since we went into administration.