With nativity scenes, wreaths, greeting cards or trees decorated with stars, shiny bells, balls, lights and other ornaments, markets are stocked with goodies for the festive Christmas and New Year season.
At Sadar Bazaar, the city’s largest wholesale market, the specialty is the Christmas tree, a festival staple.
These trees are available in two variants, Indian and Chinese. Indian varieties, made from hand, are priced between Rs 40 to Rs 100 are available in small sizes, for children.
The made-in-China tree variants, however, are much taller. Shopkeepers say while the one feet high trees are preferred by households, the demand for taller trees, as much as 15 feet high, come usually from hotels and restaurants. These begin approximately at Rs 350 onwards.
Trees with optical and LED lights are also available in sizes that range from three feet and go on to six feet. They are priced between Rs 1200 to Rs 3000.
Greeting cards for Christmas and New Year are among the many attractions of the market in old Delhi. Themes that use the popularity of cartoon characters among children like Chota Bheem, Ninja Hattori, Angry Birds and Tom and Jerry, to increase their appeal are also popular among shoppers.
However, Vakil Bhai, a greeting card wholesaler at Sadar Bazaar, says, “Sales are down this this year and have been dipping for the last few years. This is mainly because of the use of mobiles and emails by people, which does away the need for sending greeting cards.”
Minakshi Sikand, who owns Party Connection, a company which organises Christmas carnivals and offers decoration services to offices, says, “This year, there are a lot of new things in the market. There is a lot of use of snow in these decorations.”
Snow-covered strings, wreaths, Christmas trees and snowman, offer people a glimpse of the ‘White Christmas’– a snow covered ground, which is so elusive in Delhi.
A Santa Claus captures the quintessence of festival and is a favourite Christmas fixture. Santa dresses in varying sizes costing anywhere between Rs 100 to Rs 500 are being bought by mainly by churches and even enthusiastic parents, say shopkeepers.
Anita, a mother of a four-year old says, “I bought the Santa dress from Sadar for my husband. We plan to surprise our daughter on Christmas.”
Ravi, who earns his living as a footpath hawker says he picks up raw goods from Sadar Bazaar. Santa Caps in traditional red and white is among his wares for Christmas.
He says, “Every year, we buy material worth Rs 10,000 and manage to sell all these at margin Rs 2000 to Rs 3000. This year, however we are selling it at a higher price of Rs 30.”
Along with his wife, two brothers and mother, the hawker says he manages to sell about 200 caps to 250 caps.
Other available knick-knacks are wreaths, trumpets, stockings, balls and, candies, all bundled into packets that are priced from Rs 75 onwards each. Christmas special doormats sell at Rs 80 each.
Meanwhile, the relatively upscale Khan Market, a hub catering to a different demography of shoppers, also buzzes with latest Christmas specialties.
Mehra Brothers, a shop that has been specialising in paper maiche products from Kashmir since 1972, is offering elephant and camel riding Santas this year.
“They are extremely light and therefore are easy to hang on trees,” says Leena, the shop’s owner.
Also apart from caravans of Santas riding on elephants and camels other trinkets offered by the shop are Santa boxes, stars as well as snowmen.
Anand Stationers, which also stocks up on Christmas decorations, has cards and paper bags that feature special designs like Santas on camels and a couple of green moustaches arranged in the shape of a Christmas tree.
Animated Santas, which dance and play trumpets, apart from occasionally tapping their foot on the tunes of ‘Jingle bells’ can also be found.
One could even get a Gangnam Style Santa or a Santa hanging down from parachutes for just Rs 395 at Kriti Creations, a 15-year shop that deals in decorations.
From this year onwards, the shop has begun a new service, offering to do up homes and offices for festivals, depending on budgets of clients.
“This is the first time we are offering this service. These packages start from Rs 2000 for homes and go up to Rs 50,000 for bigger venues,” says Preeti from Kriti Creations.
Among the trinkets that have made their way into the market apart from the usual decorations, hairbands with reindeer horns and wristbands are seen to be popular.
Apart from traditional colours like green, red and golden, usually associated with Christmas, colours such as pink, blue, silver, chocolate brown are also finding their way into decorations.
Shopkeepers in both the markets agree that sales this year are better than last year.
Shiv, a shopkeeper in Sadar Bazar, says. “Last year, the sales were very low as many people had not celebrated the festival because of the Nirbhaya gang rape. However, this year the demand and sales are very good.”
Leena from Merhra Brothers in Khan Market says,”I can’t say for sure this year but the general rush in the market this time is still not as much as it was was three to four years ago when there were much more shoppers.”