Another dull Christmas?
Given the mood of people at this time, especially weighed down by the drought, wouldn’t it be great if this year, Orange somehow made Christmas in Orange something special?
Over recent years, it’s been hard not to notice how dull our Main Street has been over Christmas. On face value it appears very little has been done with our main street to give our beautiful City the feel of Christmas. With the exception of some dull out of date festoon lights strung across Summer Street, there’s been not much else to cause us to get excited about Christmas or even catch the Christmas spirit when we’re down town.
I realise it costs money for decorations and the like, but that’s no excuse to discount any possibilities at the first hurdle. If all we do is look at the cost, we’ll never do anything. For me, as a businessman, giving our main street a Christmas decoration makeover for the weeks leading up to Christmas would be an investment, not an expense. If Summer Street looked fabulous and had a real Christmas feel to it, shoppers, visitors, in fact everyone, would feel better and when people feel good they spend more. If that wasn’t a fact, shopping centres wouldn’t go to great lengths to decorate their centres at Christmas, as lavishly as they do.
Happy shoppers spend more so the happier we can make shoppers feel, the better it is for everyone.
Over my 50 years or so of adulthood, when I float ideas or suggestion like this, I always like to include some ideas as well, it’s so easy to raise questions without offering solutions and I don’t like to do that.
So, what could we do to Deck the Halls, so to speak, and make sure when people find themselves in Summer Street come December, they’ll know for sure, it’s Christmastime.
Putting logistics aside for the time being, and just thinking about ideas, here’s a few that come to mnd –
Set up a Christmas Central in Post Office lane. Decorate this area quite flamboyantly with suitable decorations. Arrange for ongoing Christmas music to beam out around this area. Arrange for this to be another point for the kids to meet and talk to Santa Claus, it doesn’t have to be just Shopping Centres, especially given Myer is no longer a Santa station. Other additions for Christmas Central could be a gift-wrapping service, a shopping or visitor information booth.
Design and fly a variety of themed banners right along Summer Street flag on the poles. Each one could simply be a different picture of a much-loved kids story character. Imagine the interest and spectacle if we hung 20 banners, all with a different animated character featured. These could be used again and again each Christmas.
Instead of simply allowing the mixed bag of buskers to set up on Summer Street to do their thing, set some ground rules for them, such as having them dress or present themselves in a particular way, one that maintains a Christmas theme.
Employ a Town Crier, dressed appropriately to roam up and down the Summer street spreading good cheer and helpful tips about shopping and shops in Orange. Businesses could be asked to pay a small amount for him to spruik about them as part of the mix.
Christmas is about 4 months away, let’s not let it come and go again without at least thinking about what we could do to make it so much happier and profitable for us all.