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Ruta Mave: Be thankful while the countdown is on

Monday 4 December 2023 | Written by Ruta Tangiiau Mave | Published in Opinion

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Ruta Mave: Be thankful while the countdown is on
Ruta Tangiiau Mave.

Finally, it is December and we can hear Christmas coming with all the jingles bells and whistles.

I don’t know about you but I find it stress inducing to have inflatable Christmas chipmunks greet you at the supermarket during November before the American thanksgiving.

I wonder if at this time, Mary had even told Joseph she was pregnant, let alone be riding a donkey to Bethlehem?

Large inflatables of a big hairy guy in a white fur trimmed red suit and gumboots in this heat, is another form of weirdness in our tropical November wonderland, and another stress inducing reminder.

He is called Santa and all his stories from Santa Claus to St Nicholas all have derivatives in the northern hemisphere where it is cold and snowing, not hot, dry, lush and green.

The very sight of him on the far horizon can put the fear of God into parents as the expectation and social necessity to buy a volume of unnecessary and unwanted things to put anonymously into a sack for the children.

The next morning, they open them at lightning speed, ripping through the costly coloured paper to exclaim ‘cool’ or ‘aah’, shake it, put it down, and rife through the rest of them.

Only pausing at the end of the mayhem to take stock of what Santa has given them and count how many they got and was that more or less how many they got last year? 

If successful, they will be happy and excited to now play with the things just been given to them, or if not, they are keen to get onto the next level of presents from named givers in the family.

The duty to provide a vast number of items under the Xmas tree has over the years lost its full meaning and intention with the commercialisation and race to have the most and best.

In Iceland books are exchanged on Christmas Eve, then the tradition is to spend the rest of the night reading and eating chocolate – sounds absolutely perfect.

Recently I read that Santa is an image to perpetuate the idea of giving for giving sake, and once you understand that this image of Santa is real, then it is your duty to carry on the tradition.

How many years have parents sat there mutely as children exclaim to great delight what Santa brought them?

How many brownie points have parents given up so that children can believe that someone would give them something for nothing, except the joy of giving? 

When we go Xmas shopping, are we trying to find something of worth and personal value for the intended person or are we driven by the value and volume only?

Have we traded in the personal making of something unique for another person for something off the rack so they look like everyone else?

Are we so wrapped up in the retail side of Christmas we forget to take the time to remember those magical moments we can get from showing our good nature to those around us?

Three weeks people, to get ready for the big day, the large hams, the volume of food and drink, the endless Xmas parties and last-minute catch ups you promised to do all year with family and friends.

Artificial trees need to be erected, decorated and lit up with lights. Spare mattresses need to be found and aired for visiting rellies and friends.

The favourite Hallmark movies Love Actually, The Holiday are dusted off and downloaded to be watched for the tenth year in a row to the dismay of children and husbands alike, who may throw Diehard into the mix.

It is a fun time and people do relax a little, wearing their reindeer antlers or flashing globe earrings.

The buy into being nice to others does wear off onto others, and can wear off after a while when standing in the checkout line with tired hungry kids.

So on this note I say it is three weeks, take it slow, take it down a notch and take your time to smell the cinnamon and enjoy knowing you live in paradise where no one is going to bomb your house anytime soon, lack of rain does not mean a lack of food, and our problem of finding a gift for our mother or significant other that they will truly like, is way down the bottom of problems to be solved in this world today.

If you have food in the fridge, clothes on your back and a roof over your head to sleep, you are richer than 75 percent of the world. If you have money in the bank and spare change in a bag you rank among the top 8 percent of the world’s wealthy. Be thankful and be giving.