York Imaginarium’s Christmas curiosities
December 11, 2015
The Imaginarium is one of York’s most interesting shops. It is difficult to precisely define, as it sells many different items and is not simply a shop but also functions as an art display, being curated by artists with a particular vision centred on The Imaginarium of Dr. Parnassus. Everything in the shop may not be everyone’s cup of tea, but everything in it is fascinating, containing character and inviting intrigue.
I recently visited their new Christmas department and was impressed by the way they had taken their own curious twist on the season. Walking into the department at the back of the store, what was most striking upon entering was how much effort the shop had put into this with the entirety of the department covered in decorations and the speakers blasting out Christmas carols.
The department has all the traditional features one would expect: sizeable trees, decorated with many resplendent baubles as well as snow and festive seeming animals like polar bears, robins and so forth. But the Imaginarium has put its own twist on all of this. The baubles decorating the trees were varied with many different designs featured, each of incredible detail. I also found wooden Santa hour glasses, a golden stopwatch, a collection of beautiful miniature houses and other little treats that you would not find in a standard Christmas display.
The shop has succeeded in creating a Christmas aesthetic that is not kitsch or overbearing but fun and wondrous, with so many small hand crafted details that are worth coming back for. The more wholesome feel to the back of the shop does now stand somewhat in contrast with the main floor which, with its slightly gothic edge, is a bit darker and more mysterious. But this makes visiting the shop an all the more enjoyable experience, as you are able to experience both mystery and warmth all in the same space.