In the build-up to this Christmas I’ve been hiding from the shops. They are a madhouse, and what used to be post-Christmas sales are already starting ahead of the big day.
Christmas has been reduced – certainly in New Zealand – to a frenzy of shouted advertisements for cheaply made consumer items that break twenty two seconds after you’ve ripped them out of their packaging. Care, thought and compassion, it seems, has been translated into a race to buy one of the 342 Christmas albums released by has-been singers who you almost but don’t quite remember from the 1990s.
Not to mention the 48 course mid-day lunch – hams, turkey (with stuffing), strawberries, especially priced by suppliers racing to see who can gouge the most, they’re not going to lose customers today are they?
Never mind the fact that in New Zealand the season’s topsy-turvy. Christmas was a mid-winter festival in Europe. Here, Christmas gluttony starts around 11,30 am with a two-hour frenzy of power-eating – hot roast chicken, turkey and fruit mince pies, all in 30 degree heat and a backdrop of brilliant sunshine. The afternoon is spent rolling around groaning.
After which we can all look forward to Boxing Day sales in which all the stuff you just paid double for on 24 December is suddenly out there at a tenth of the price. All the things Christmas should be about – a day for family, a day for caring and for kindness – all seem to have been lost, somewhere along the way.
To all of which I say only one thing. BAH HUMBUG!
Merry Christmas everybody.
Copyright © Matthew Wright 2014