Edinburgh's Christmas market is returning to Princes Street Gardens but will it come back in the spirit of the original 'green' Santa? – Vladimir McTavish

How depressing. After last year’s drab lockdown non-festivities, we are going to be faced with something even worse this Christmas. The return of Underbelly to Princes Street.

Saturday, 9th October 2021, 4:55 am
Santa Claus was green before he was read (Picture: Yoshikazu Tsuno/AFP via Getty Images)

Don’t get me wrong. Edinburgh during the festive season looks magnificent. From a distance. Up close, it is tatty, tawdry and tasteless.

But not just Edinburgh. Virtually every major city in Britain now has a “German market” from late November onwards. Indeed, the phenomenon has even reached as far as Germany.

Two years ago, I was in Berlin in the lead-up to Yuletide and was disappointed to find that the German market in Alexanderplatz was as tacky as the one in Princes Street Gardens. But at least it was authentically German.

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However, the one thing that irritates me most about Christmas is the amount of waste in creates. So it was good to read in this paper about a more heart-warming Christmas story.

Eco Larder are one of a number of packaging-free shops springing up in the city. Others include The Filling Station on the Southside, and The Good Store in Goldenacre. Eco Larder’s Haymarket shop will this year host a plastic-free Santa’s Grotto. Every child will receive a non-plastic toy.

I am sure that Father Christmas himself would approve of this. Santa was, of course, carbon-neutral before it became fashionable.

In fact, he was originally green until Coca Cola changed his robes to red. To visit the home of every child on the planet in a 24-hour period fuelled solely by reindeer power is an achievement that the world leaders attending Cop26 should heed.

Of course, being based in Lapland, Santa is presumably very concerned about the state of the polar ice cap. If temperatures continue to rise, his grotto could soon be under water.

I do think we need to know more about his work practices. One would be very disillusioned indeed were one to find that his elves were employed on zero-hours contracts.

Hopefully they are all on the living wage. If not, then the government should insist that he switches to a more high-wage, high-skill model. There are still over two months left for him to do his own levelling-up.

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