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RUTA MAVE: Attitude of gratitude

Monday 19 December 2022 | Written by Ruta Tangiiau Mave | Published in Opinion

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RUTA MAVE: Attitude of gratitude
Ruta Tangiiau Mave. Photo: CI NEWS

The Christmas lights came on around the island this past weekend. The simple coloured lights strung across from pole-to-pole zig zagging around the Are Tapu. It is magical to drive home from work at night and have them shine in the night sky. They remind me of our tree lights made to look like flowers, they always heralded the anticipation of the arrival of Santa.

Creating nativity scenes in school plays and Sunday School may teach about the birth of Christ as the reason for Christmas. But ultimately what every child is looking forward to the most is the opening of Santa presents on Christmas morning, writes Ruta Mave.

Growing up the eldest of five it was a chaos of shrieks “look what I got” or “hey, Santa gave me a truck instead of a doll?” Before we were allowed to open the Santa sacks, there were rules to follow. Make mum a cup of tea and read the note.  Is that still a thing? Leaving Santa, a thank you note and something to eat and drink? I hope so, giving the hard-working man meal breaks and rest on his long night teaches recognition and thoughtfulness to our baseline workers. It shows an attitude of gratitude for the effort of giving of gifts.

Santa is the ultimate bargaining tool, the hope at the end of the tunnel, the enforcer of good behaviour and coercion of children to behave or else Santa won’t bring them any toys. Can we still do that with children these days? They are quick to reply that Santa doesn’t exist and it is all a big false idea. Personally, I am happy to agree with them because I reply “no problem you don’t believe you don’t receive”. Let’s me off the hook and saves some pennies.

It’s like some people’s faith in religion. They don’t believe in God or Jesus but they are happy to live enjoying the benefits of religious based holidays. They give no thanks for the good in their lives, but as soon as it all hits the fan, they are the first to call God for help. There are no atheists in the foxholes of war, receiving heaven is what keeps people believing.

On Sunday there will be the ripping of carefully gift-wrapped presents and then the tossing of presents aside as deemed not worthy, not what was wanted or wrong colour, wrong brand, wrong size, wrong, wrong, wrong.

A week from today will be Boxing Day when we take back the presents we didn’t want or spend more money at the till. In fact, the trend is to give money so they can buy their own gifts and be happy, happy, happy.

Australia predicted that $400 million will be spent on 10 million unwanted gifts this year. This is during a time that everyone is saying there is a downturn in economy, there is no money, there are people waiting for the delivery of free food and gifts donated by charities.

In the worst of times there is always people spending money they can’t afford to spoil their children so they have more than what they had as a child. Ultimately what they do is exactly that, spoil the child. Spoil them from knowing a life worth working for, a life where they gain self-satisfaction from a job well done and done well. They spoil them to the extent they don’t know how to fend for themselves and don’t want to or believe they need to.

Children become entitled and arrogant and think the world owes them a living, a wage, a house, a car, a career for being and doing nothing but play war games online.

Is it worth it? What was the reason for the silly season again?

Christmas is a time for family to be together even if during the year they are fighting, this is the time they take to lay down their differences and come together in harmony. We recently had a petrol shortage but if it came down to it, we could walk most places. It is warm here, there is food on the trees dropping to rot on the ground, and the worst falling out of the sky is rain that will fill our reserves and grow our produce.

This Christmas other people are facing winter with no fuel for heating, no power, no water and falling from the sky are shells of destruction – not pretty tropical ones with cute little crabs inside. There are families no longer able to celebrate together due to losses from Covid, war, disease, accidents, domestic violence and suicide.  If you can come together this year with your family, praise your blessings and take the moment to invest in them time well spent being loved.

Merri Kirrimitti to you all.