Christmas Time is here again

I know we tend to complain about the hype, the energy and the unchecked spending as a run up to Christmas and the festive season. But what the heck…

Christmas way back then…
Everybody works their fingers to the bone the entire year. There are many of our compatriots barely earning enough to put food on the table, but they will participate in savings clubs at their workplaces so that they have holiday cash. My mom used to work in a factory when I was still at university and I can recall how on Fridays, even she would be paying some cash to Jeanette for “ Revierra” hampers and some cash to Mr Geduldt, I think, towards stamp money for the grocery hampers.  Then, there were the Bashews assorted cooldrinks that always travelled on a lorry from house to house. At Christmas time, my dad would order 6 cases and we would indulge in these fizzy drinks with abandon.
Then, when Christmas is a few days away, the same frenzy as today would prevail. We would go to Wynberg main road and collect our lay-bye of “Christmas” clothes. Then we would walk from shop to shop purchasing all the odds and ends. After all the hectic shopping, we would trek home by train and then walk almost a kilometre to our home, heavily laden. Shoo, we would be so exhausted but happy because of the new clothes and all the luxuries we were going to enjoy.

My mom with from left: Sharon, Glenda, Hilary and Trevor. Check out  our matching jerseys and shoes

To buy or not to buy… that is the question for the poor, they say…
Nowadays, there are just strings of shopping malls with enough parking to house a small village. The shopping mall is the equalizer: whoever has cash or credit can get the goods. This time of year the rich and the poor rub shoulders, spending at the same shops and buying the same brands. We are all hypnotized by the Christmas carols, the dancing bears and all the neon lights beckoning us.
 Often we judge poor families when we see how they splash out on expensive branded items for their children. Tut… tut.. we wonder, can’t they save their money towards the school fees and other important expenses; they surely can’t afford the stuff.  Of course, this comment is logical and in a world where people are struggling to eke out a living this is probably good advice. Yet, I can see the logic in these poor folks’ actions, especially when we are all enveloped in a world of consumerism, screaming adverts, magnetic shopping malls and unconsciously create a picture of what you need to fit into the world of the ‘haves’. These parents have often saved hard the entire year to buy that desired item for their child; just that one time in the year to see the joy on the child’s face. For these parents know that even if they were to keep that money for those important expenses, they will still be in arrears. When the new working year starts, they will start the same vicious cycle again.

This may sound mushy, but this is part of the mindset that drives our poorer folk. The group that knows this best is again our advertising giants and their equally formidable corporates. Why would these Father Christmas clones allow us to pay only in “March”of the new year, if this was not their understanding?
All the sisters: From Left: Levona, Hilary, Sharon, Glenda (RIP), Desiree. At one of our  costume Sistas parties

Christmas is celebration time
So, it’s during the festive season that we open our hearts and share with all our friends, family and fellowmen more generously. It is this time of year that we can spoil ourselves and rejuvenate ourselves. We deserve this space to find our humanness. For my family, Christmas time is a reminder that our Saviour, our Rock, was born and while we rejoice in this, we too go out of our way to bond and share with those whom we neglect throughout the year.

Basil, Sasha and Christo being hatters at Citrusdal Country house - one of our many silly moments

Christmas time is celebration time. May this festive season be one filled with blessings, laughter, fun, hope and love for all you wonderful folk. Dare to have as many lazy, funfilled days so that when the new year dawns, we can all say: We are ready!


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