Christmas in November? Have we all gone mad?
That was one underlying thread of social media commentary surrounding Friday night's annual Christmas in the City, which saw the first appearance (for all intents and purposes) of the jolly red man himself, Santa Claus, in Launceston for the festive season. The underlying commentary of madness that we could possibly celebrate Christmas in November was punctuated by the fact that adjacent to the festivities in the mall, the Quadrant Mall was hosting a different kind of mad event - the Mad Hatter's Festival.
A common criticism of the Brisbane Street mall, and the Quadrant for that matter, is that there's nowhere for the community to congregate, or rather, that the design does not encourage that.
Well that notion was defied on Friday night when early Christmas revellers took to the streets and celebrated what is sure to be a wonderful festive season.
Despite not as many shops being open as patrons might have liked, there was a fantastic family-friendly atmosphere in the all and along the Arcade for the celebration.
Late-night shopping appears to be a foreign concept to some businesses in Tasmania but it was great to see many small businesses embracing the opportunity to snag some Christmas-present-hunting shoppers. Children of all ages crammed into the mall to take a look at the huge Christmas tree, pose with Alice or the Mad Hatter, or crane towards the stage to get a glimpse of the fabled Santa.
Others were singing along to the Christmas carols being played and sung by local musicians, which in itself is a fantastic display of support, giving young people a change to perform on stage for the community. The magic that was alive in those few hours made me forget that it was technically still November and throw away the notion of the "correct time" to celebrate Christmas.
If celebrating Christmas with your family slightly earlier than normal, makes us all mad, then me and mine will happy join the Mad Hatter's tea party in Wonderland.
However, when it comes to hot cross buns being available all year round, well, let's say that would be a whole other story.
- Caitlin Jarvis is a senior journalist at The Examiner's and acting deputy editor.