With com­mu­nity ed­i­tor

Mort Smith

Buckinghamshire Advertiser - - PEOPLE AND PLACES -

SO, WE’RE into De­cem­ber and I was just about pre­pared to ac­cept that Christ­mas was three weeks away and that it might be time to be think­ing fes­tive thoughts and go­ing out on a gift shop­ping ex­pe­di­tion.

And then I watched the tele­vi­sion pic­tures of the may­hem that ac­com­pa­nied Black Fri­day when, ap­par­ently, all and sundry head to the shops to try to grab a pre-Christ­mas bar­gain.

I have to con­fess that I’ve some­times watched with mild amuse­ment the start of the world fa­mous Har­rod’s sale when thou­sands of peo­ple charge through the doors of the Knights­bridge store to scram­ble for a new din­ner ser­vice or a top-of-therange sit-on lawn mower (pre­sum­ably to keep the cook or the gar­dener happy so they won’t bowl off to take em­ploy­ment with Lord and Lady Grump­fut­tock…)

But when you see ap­par­ently ra­tio­nal hu­man be­ings smash­ing into each other with fists, boots and vir­tu­ally any­thing else that comes to hand to grab a £300 TV that was made in China and will prob­a­bly last about two months be­fore it breaks down, you have to ask your­self: ‘What kind of a world are we liv­ing in – and what are we teach­ing our chil­dren and grand­chil­dren about de­cent be­hav­iour?’

I like a bar­gain as much as the next man but I don’t be­lieve I’d stoop to punch­ing a fel­low bar­gain hunter in the face to se­cure my prize. Life is just too short for that kind of non­sense.

And, in any event, what has that kind of be­hav­iour got to do with the Christ­mas spirit?

You know – love and friend­ship, peace on Earth and good­will to all men (and women for that mat­ter).

Those images will haunt me for a long while – the looks of pure ha­tred on some faces as they dragged and wres­tled boxes from one another’s grasp.

It was one of the sad­dest sights I’ve seen in the past 64 years.

Isn’t it about time we got things back in per­spec­tive and just en­joyed Christ­mas for what it is – a re­li­gious cel­e­bra­tion of the birth of Christ for some or, for oth­ers, just a few days away from work to en­joy the company of fam­ily and friends.

The one thing it shouldn’t de­note is the out­break of World War Three…

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