Festive frenzy Ian's Rural Ramblings
The time is almost upon us. Christmas, Solstice, Holidays or whatever else you want to call it. For most of the month of December and often a good deal more before and after many of us will prepare for the big day.
There are presents to buy and wrap. Food to buy and prepare and everyone has their own expectations and goals, some a good deal higher than others. As a parent of 34 years now I have and still have mixed feelings about Christmas time. It was always special when the children were young when my wife and I listened to them whispering excitedly that the stocking were out. The children are a good deal older now yet they consistently have said down the years that the randomness and individuality of the stockings were and are the best bit and they could have easily not bothered with the other stuff.The contents of those stocking were usually less than $10 each.
There is a pressure and expectation on a good many of us to overspend, over eat and for a good many of us too, regret it bitterly when the cost is added up. I have fallen into the latter more than once, which gave me mixed feelings looking towards the next year’s festivities.
For a good number of people all over the world now, times are hard. Decisions are being made whether to spend money on food or rent/ mortgage or utilities. I remember well having to make those decisions. At the sharp end of the difficult economy it is easy to get into debt and very hard to get out again.
In the 1980s and 1990s my wife and I formed 50 per cent of a partnership with my friend and his wife running a scaffolding company in the UK. Times were good and times were hard. We rolled with the economic punches, especially when interest rates soared to over 17 per cent effectively killing the construction industry for years. We employed people and had to lay them all off. My partner and I did everything to keep the company going.
One Christmas Eve my wife and I had nothing other than a small amount of gas in the car. Nothing for grocery shopping let alone Christmas for the four children we had at the time. There was nothing in the bank. We had but one hope. Once local contractor said he would pay us for one job we’d done as a favour. He called and asked us to drop by and pick it up. We just about had enough gas to get there. Our share of the job came to £50, which was about $120 then. We got some gas and my wife took charge of shopping. We had enough for a small grocery shop, small gifts for the children and a few extras for Christmas.
It was one of the best Christmases I ever remember. We spent the big day at home with the children then saw other members of our family many of which have since passed on. Yet the memory endures. Fret not over frenzy at this time of year it is the people that are dear to you that matter. Time spent with them is one of the biggest gifts you can give and receive.