Ariel Goldberg
Ariel Goldberg

‘Tis the season to be soppy

With the world markets a mess and most South Africans hopelessly loaded with debt, this Christmas season doesn’t look like it is going to be the most memorable for the retailer’s bottom lines.

But I can see a definite silver lining to this dark cloud.

Gift giving around Christmas time should never have become the mad consumer frenzy it has turned into. Tinsel and inane smiling rain deer in the shopping malls make me want to throw up — especially because they are there two months before anybody has even thought about Christmas. It’s all just a crazy spending spree that the marketers lead us into like sheep to the slaughter.

Was this holiday ever supposed to be about people giving one another “things”? Parents spoiling their kids with one more plastic toy, an exercise bike to help with that New Year’s resolution you’ll forget about by February and some more socks for dad (woohoo!).

I don’t think so.

There are some truly wonderful aspects to the festive season. Communities becoming filled with a cheerful and generous spirit, families spending time together and a chance for us all to tell those that are dear to us how special they are. All these, the most wonderful things about Christmas, don’t require any money.

It doesn’t cost rands and cents to tell someone you love them and you don’t need to break your bank account to indulge in some quality time with someone special.

With our budgets considerably tighter this year, hopefully many people will be taking the opportunity to share less expensive and thoughtful gifts. Something that you had to make or an afternoon together doing something fun. Or perhaps even just a big fat sloppy hug and kiss. What could be more valuable than that?

Put away the credit cards and bring out the shmooze. Let this be the soppiest and most touching Christmas ever. The meaning behind Christmas has never been about things, but about people.

After all, Jesus spent His first Christmas in a manger because His parents couldn’t afford to pay for lodging and what’s more … kings and potentates down the ages would have given up all they had to be there with them.