I like this time of year, Christmas, Winter Festival or Festivus, take your preference, yet it is the best of times and it is the worst of times.
It is the one time in the year where people, in the main, seem to put their grievances aside and there is a general outpouring of goodwill to humanity. People think of those that are less well off than themselves and giving to good causes increases substantially. If only it would last.
On the other hand the season shows the worst excesses of grasping and greed. The shelves of every shop are filled with things to tempt us yet most of these are things we neither need or can really afford. The festivities skew the market, with retail purchases during December as much as 80% larger than in January. The high street relies upon this time of year to make it or to break it.
It is also a time when the use of the world’s scarce resources are called into question. Take a look at the shelves next time you are out and you will see racks and racks of cheap tat that will end up as landfill in a small number of weeks.
I don’t wish to be a Grinch but our approach to Christmas is unsustainable. It is not good for the economy (it disrupts a normal rhythm leading to over-production and over-consumption), it is not good for the planet (it is a waste of precious resources) and it is not good for people’s finances (according to The Independent, nearly six in ten households say they make sacrifices to buy Christmas presents and of those with children 31 per cent are relying on credit to fund their purchases.).
The trouble is that it is so ingrained in our way of life and our world is so geared to the status quo that any thought of change will be impossible.
Ho ho ho!