The mad rush (or the city on Christmas Eve....) / by Mario Mirabile

Christmas Eve in the city is a mix of furious last minute shopping, end of year celebratory wining and dining and school children let loose on summer break.

The retail store employees are a bit confused, caught between serving customers intent on finding appropriate stocking stuffers and preparing for the crazy onslaught of the post-Christmas sales. The Myer Christmas window display continues to attract large crowds with a queue more than 100 meters long patiently waiting their turn to get a close look at this year's spectacular: "Gingerbread Friends", a tableau loosely based on the tale of the gingerbread man. Dazed shoppers for whom the whole experience has become too much stare blankly into the street awaiting the excitement of the Boxing Day cricket test to snap them back to reality. Santa's elves, their toymaking tasks completed for another year, frolic outside his house in the warm sunshine before returning to the North Pole, and even one of his reindeer escapes to wander among the crowds.

Once your own personal rush abates, I wish you all the best for a happy and peaceful Christmas and a wonderful new year.