Be of Good Cheer

  laurie53 20:06 21 Dec 08

Every year one night in December the shops in our little coastal community stay open late and offer mince pies, shortbread and ginger or mulled wine to the regular customers who have kept them going over the year.

On every corner is a different class from the local Primary singing carols and some time during the evening himself appears drawn by four real reindeer (and you haven’t seen eyes sparkle until you’ve seen the kids as this happens) preceded by the local fire engine, the lifeboat crew, the coastguard, sundry others and up till now the police. We all fetch up near the market cross for an impromptu carol service.

This year the police have advised against offering wine as “it sends a mixed message.”

Now perhaps I lack imagination, but to me a glass of mulled or ginger wine simply sends a message that it’s that time of year again

After all, we’re not talking about half a tumbler full of Buckfast.

  hzhzhzhz 20:14 21 Dec 08

an example of responsible drinking,I would have thought.


  carver 20:34 21 Dec 08

It's sad that something as nice as that can be tainted by a few wrong words.

  spuds 21:17 21 Dec 08

Funny that you should mention this subject, but our local authorities have informed some shopkeepers that offering alcohol content drinks, even as a gesture of Christmas goodwill, would require an/the appropriate licence.

No doubt there is possibly a food or hygiene licence required for handing out mince pies!.

  bluto1 22:00 21 Dec 08

You 'paint' a lovely picture of a close knit and caring community. Long may iy last. Happy Christmas to them all.

  WhiteTruckMan 22:13 21 Dec 08

Do you need a license if you are giving it away free? Obviously if you gave it to minors then you would be liable as an offence of buying it in the first place (for a minor).


  Forum Editor 23:27 21 Dec 08

did the police expand on this, and tell you what the mixed message is?

I can hardly think of a more pleasant custom than the one you described - it sounds delightful to me, and if I was the person responsible I believe I would completely ignore what the police said, and go ahead anyway.

There's absolutely nothing in the law that says a shopkeeper may not give a complimentary drink to people, provided the people are over 18, and provided the alcohol is consumed inside the shop.

  lofty29 08:46 22 Dec 08

Watch out, the anti christmas brigade, the PC correct mob, some "elf and safety noddy from the council", and possibly the anti-terror police may all be jumping on your community from a great height soon.

  DANZIG 09:00 22 Dec 08

Just like in pretty much all area's of life, rules are made to deal with the lowest common denominator - people who have no self control whatsoever and would abuse a lovely tradition such as the one described.

In a nutshell, the minority spoil it for the majority.

  crosstrainer 10:31 22 Dec 08

Why wreck a nice country tradition simply because the "PC" brigade think this will stop errant teens from buying and consuming alcohol. They will get their hands on the stuff if they want to anyway.

  spuds 10:54 22 Dec 08

Apparently its all to do with 'serving' on unlicensed premises, or premises not approved for liqueur consumption (ie planning permission regulations).

Strange really, because in our town we have many 'eating houses' that are owned and run by people who have strong religious beliefs about drinking,using or storing alcohol. Yet these same places use to allow their customers (not sure if they still do) 'bring your own bottle', which seemed to cover any disagreements or approvals!.

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