Touria Prayag's Blog

L’express Weekly, 24 December 2010

Posted in Uncategorized by touriaprayag on January 11, 2011

Weekly 24.12.10

Thinking outside
the gift box

To you this night is born a child of Mary,
this little child of lowly birth shall be the joy of
all the earth.
It is that time of year again where Mauritius
is caught up in the Christmas and New Year Frenzy.
‘Frenzy’ because the spirit of love and kindness which characterizes
Christmas will be put on the back burner in favour
of materialism. This year, the fun is complete as shopping
centres have made the ‘bouchées doubles’ to be able to be
ready for Christmas. And they fulfi lled their promise. Who
could afford to miss the mass consumption month? Who
could ignore that if there is one festival which unites all
Mauritians, irrespective of their religion, creed or colour, it
is Christmas and New Year?
Advertising has, therefore, become more and more
aggressive as malls and store keepers fall short of putting
their hands into our pockets, and the blaring music has no
other aim than to drive consumers into the mindset euphemistically
called the “Christmas spirit”. Of course, the
temptations have been there for a couple of months now.
The Christmas spirit, whipped up by businesses, starts earlier
and earlier every year. However, Marketing experts know
they have to increase the dose towards the end of December,
targeting the hard-fought for end of year bonus.
There is naturally nothing wrong with getting into the
spirit of treating oneself and those around one. After all,
this is what one has worked so hard for and gift-exchange
has always contributed to social cohesion as it makes both
the giver and the receiver happy. The problem arises when
the stores take control of the consumers with an arsenal of
marketing techniques and a psychologically designed shopping
atmosphere that push them to buy beyond their means.
This is how we all get so caught in the Christmas machine.
And the stress has been mounting as the season has
been approaching. A list checked and double-checked. A
series of useless gifts which are not worth the paper they
are wrapped in: a mousse cake sampler, a message dish, a
personalised self-inking stamper or a luggage tag give more
satisfaction to the person who has sold them than to the
one who has received them. And the frenzy reaches a point
where most of us end up thinking of Christmas with dread
rather than happy anticipation. We all get carried away by
the stress and commotion of the season and pressure of the
exchange of useless nicely wrapped gifts that we tend to
forget that Christmas is supposed to be a time of peace, love
and goodwill to all.
I think we should all try to alleviate the pressure by thinking
of Christmas outside the gift box. Yes, it will always be
a time to be merry and treat oneself and one’s close ones.
But it is not about hunting around the shopping centres
to fi nd useless gifts to give to people who have spent
their time looking for useless ones to give you back, all
parties feeling more like Mr. Scrooge than like Santa
Claus. Nothing takes away the Christmas spirit more
quickly than that.
Merry Christmas all the same.



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