Select Page

Offbeat – 16 December 2011

If there is a chance to change things, it has to lie in our approach to the spirit of Christmas. The day used to be about giving, but the spirit of getting is the flip side of the coin. Wanting and getting too much is fundamentally unhealthy, except for China’s economy.

Christmas is upon us again, the time of wanting and getting. It arrived round about November, with the first appearance of decorations, and those demented people who are desperate enough to wear Santa hats seven to eight weeks before the day.
Before I go any further, my first wish to Santa is to nix decorations until halfway through December. Having the tat hang around for seven or eight weeks before the event, totally ruins the excitement of the season. There are twelve days of Christmas, not fifty-six, sod it. By the time the first day of Christmas arrives, I am utterly ready for it to be over.
If you are a retailer, please tell your agency or central marketing office that Santa doesn’t buy in your store because the markups are too high, and that the campaign is not a good idea, because fifty-six days of media spend pushes the markup even higher. Everyone knows that whether it is an expensive piece of technology encased in plastic with a fruit logo, or some cheap plastic stocking stuffer, Santa sources in China.
I never get what I really want for Christmas, which is a vast amount of money, enabling me to spend every day lazing and reading an endless supply of exciting books in air-conditioned bliss, so I never bother too much with asking for the material stuff. This statement is supported by the fact that I also seldom know exactly what it is that I want as far as wrappable goodies go.
My other, non-material requests have also been ignored. If I remember correctly, last year I wanted a reduction in carbon emissions. As I have a child, that seems like an entirely reasonable desire. Look where that got me. Canada just abandoned the Kyoto protocol. Please boycott maple syrup.
This year I am going to ask for rain on Christmas day, again. Just to make certain, I am going to offer John Olszewski, the weather forecaster, a bribe of something in a bottle. If he predicts rain, there seems to be a fair degree of certainty that it will happen. John, please predict rain from nine in the morning until about five in the evening, with brief breaks at twelve and three so that the dogs can go outside. Dramatic thunder and lightning will also be cool, as well as uninterrupted, dense cloud cover.
Being Namibian, I think that rain is a reasonable desire. It’s a joy that almost everyone can share, with the possible exception of those people who intend to braai around lunchtime.
The only other things I can think to ask for are a sudden increase in the number of jobs, and the rapid realisation that solutions to the EU and US crises are nothing more than shuffling and postponing debt, the understanding that the entire concept of growth needs to be revised immediately, and an end to the psychosis of investors who believe that uninterrupted growth is perfectly feasible. I am also going to ask for global distribution of condoms, so that everybody can have fun while solving the issue of overpopulation.
In other words I’m going to ask for some kind of hope, which seems reasonable for Christmas. I know it won’t happen, but as with the gift of handkerchiefs, it’s the thought that counts.
Unfortunately, Christmas is intricately involved in all the problems of the world. The spirit of getting has overcome humanity, and this has translated into thoughtless and uncaring greed. If not for that greed, I would be able to ask Santa for something more reasonable, for instance some kind of amusing toy, no fireworks and a three-week coastal holiday for my noisy neighbours, so that I can have a quiet Christmas and New Year’s Eve.
If there is a chance to change things, it has to lie in our approach to the spirit of Christmas. The day used to be about giving, but the spirit of getting is the flip side of the coin. Wanting and getting too much is fundamentally unhealthy, except for China’s economy.
Perhaps if people thought a bit more, wanted less and stopped confusing money with love, the world would be a better place.
Happy Christmas, anyway.

About The Author

Do NOT follow this link or you will be banned from the site!