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‘Tis the season to be jolly (and spend more)

The decorations are up, the lights are lit, and very soon Father Christmas will be at a shopping centre near you. But as the festive mood whizzes through the air, South Africans are getting ready to feel the spending pinch. RA’EESA PATHER asked people about public Christmas decorations and end of year sales.

Khaya Ndala (1)Khaya Ndala, 28, barista, Langa
Christmas decorations are good. Most of us are going to visit our families in the Eastern Cape and when we see the decorations it reminds us of that. It’s especially good for the kids. I don’t like them as much, but it’s just something to show the holiday season is here. With the sales, it’s so bad, because everything is more expensive now. It’s not good for people, especially those who are not getting something, for those who are poor.

Karabo RajuiliKarabo Rajuili, 31, M&G investigative unit, Claremont
It’s very commercial, but there is something special about doing things because it’s fun and it brings a sense of the end of the year, and it gets people into a nice holiday spirit. So, it’s very cheesy, but I think it’s cool. I love the colour and the atmosphere, and when the lights come on in the evening. People look at the Christmas lights and they tend to get a bit happier. The commercialism bothers me because it forces people into consumerism. It makes people feel that if they don’t prioritise getting things then they aren’t part of the Christmas spirit. The reality is a lot of people are struggling financially, so it puts a lot of pressure on people to buy things they probably shouldn’t be buying.

Ellen MandereEllen Mandere, 26, waitress, Hout Bay
Sometimes they put the decorations up too early, but I don’t mind. It brings happiness to people. It puts me into the festive season. I think of home and I miss it, because I’m from Zimbabwe. But I am going back for Christmas. Shops should go on sale more often during this time of year, because some people don’t have money but they want to buy and they want to be in that Christmas mood.

Jaco du PlessisJaco du Plessis, 31, refrigerator technician, Brackenfall
It uplifts the mood and it’s actually something to look forward to. It brings joy and celebration. I feel good about it, it’s a reminder the year’s over and we can celebrate a hard year’s work and new beginnings. When I see decorations on the one side I feel happy, but on the other side I think it’s spending time again.

Magdalene DanielsMagdalene Daniels, 29, parking security, Elsies River
It’s fun and it get’s us into the Christmas spirit. You can see it’s Christmas time, and it’s good for the kids to come out and see the decorations. It’s not annoying, it’s Christmas time, so it can’t be annoying. The sales are good, because during this time you get more things. It helps, because stuff is more affordable.

– Featured image via Wikimedia Commons

1 Comment
  1. Sizwe says

    Xmas is basically a North European pagan winter festival. It is dark and cold in the north of Europe during this time of the year – hence all the insignia like fir tree & candles. In Afrikaans this light festival is appropriately called Kersfees – the candle feast.
    Xmas is associated with cosiness and sociability inside a warm candle lit home. Away from the harsh freezing dark winter weather outside.
    I think Xmas does in no way at all fit in the southern hemisphere. It’s simply misplaced. Here it’s warm to hot, it is summer and time for all sorts of out door activties.

    But the Europeans imposed christmas on Africa. Just because the christian missionaries during the forced and bloody christianisation of the Germanic tribes hijacked the mid-winter light festival and made it their “birthday of Christ”. (Similar to Easter, by the way, which is originally the pagan fertility festival in the North of Europe during spring. Hence the bunnies and the eggs…)

    Any way, today we have capitalism as an overall economic-societal system. And in this system everything, really everything is commodiified and marketed for profit. That is why Xmas actually has become the big profit making festival of the retail business, a festival of consumerism. Just like Easter, Valentine’s Day etc. etc.

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