Christmas 1890

From the Star of December 25th, 1890: The Holiday.

It can be said that on Tuesday the finishing touch was given to the preparations which have been going on in Town for the Christmas holiday. Our tradespeople have, indeed, shown great energy and enterprise, as testified by the numerous showrooms, or the more public display in shop windows. It is to be hoped that they have 'reaped as they have sowed,' for, in great measure, the prosperity of the island is necessarily dependent on trade. Yet, if vendors of wares that are not perishable have had an early opportunity if disposing of them, caterers for the indulgence of good cheer, so intimately connected with this season have not, necessarily, had a similar chance until the proximity to Christmas was measurable by hours and not by days.

The centre of attraction in this respect is the Market on the one side and the French Halles, on the other. As a rule people would rather not see, previously to being eaten, the food intended for them on Christmas Day. But at Christmas, most of us are ready to waive all such considerations with the result that the great food-providing centre in the island become the magnetic centre, for the time being, and here everybody, young and old, repair with a zest for critical comment upon the respective merits of turkeys, geese, and the prime beef-cuts displayed. Outside the market, Mrs Ferguson, as usual, had—for by the time these lines are printed, Mrs Ferguson will have them no more—a large number of fine turkeys, geese, pheasants and other game in season. He must have been an unusually fastidious customer that did not meet his requirements at Mrs Ferguson’s in her special line of business. Opposite, the tenants of the French Halles could also boast of a plentiful choice, inside the Market proper, the butchers’ department is always gay with bunting, green-garlands, and bright colour, in the midst of which hang quarters of beef or mutton, some from the prize animals of the late show. During the evening all this suspended mass of variegated colour, looks at its best. The fish and vegetable galleries are, contrary to what took place two years ago, shorn of any adornment save for the good things exposed on the sellers’ stalls.

In our wanderings we have omitted making mention of Mr J H Robert’s, tobacconist’s shop, the window of which is daintily dressed and where customers will find their tastes suited in the multifarious articles now connected with the trade.

The arrangements for the holiday, in the way of public amusements, are this year multifarious. Apart from the different bazaars organised on behalf of charitable or religious institutions in town, or country, one of the chief attractions will necessarily be the bazaar1 which His Excellency, the Lieutenant Governor, declared open this afternoon. The Guernsey Amateur Swimming Club, under whose auspices the bazaar is held, afford to such as are fond of seeking their pleasure abroad, a great variety of amusements under one roof. The Tobogganing slide will, doubtless, be appreciated, and the musical entertainments during the evening are bound, we should imagine, to find plenty of patrons. Then, St Julian’s Hall opens its doors on Friday and the following day, with the Band of the 1st regiment Royal Guernsey Light Infantry, that will, on each evening, give a smoking concert. Travelling yet further northwards, we find that the Commercial Hall, at St Samson, will also throw its doors open on Friday evening. A miscellaneous entertainment will be given there, principally, according to the programme, of a dramatic nature in which the farcical element will remain supreme. Should the weather prove favourable there is sure to be the usual exodus of visitors to the country parishes, or to such spots of favourite resort, round the insular coast where beautiful natural scenery is to be found. With respect to the weather we are fortunate in Guernsey to escape the horrors of persistent bitter cold days. Although the air is a trifle raw, the reports from the mother country give daily details of the severe frost that is being endured in almost every part of the Kingdom. The holiday maker requires fine weather for the full enjoyment if his respite from toil and let us hope that he may be indulged during these forthcoming days.

1 It opened at 2 o' clock in the New Market Halls. Wishing well, air-gun shooting competitions, Post Office with good prizes, and switchback ride (entrance cost 5d, children half price).

See the Star of December 16th for a description of Town's 'Christmas Showrooms', including Mr A Le Cheminant’s toyshop, Mt Fuzzey’s furnishing warehouse, Mr Day’s fancy goods in Mill Street, etc. etc. The Library has material from this Ferguson family of grocers in its collection.