Friday, November 10, 2006

Living in a material world

The collapse of fare pack shows yet again the importance of wise investment. On one hand it looks like a great scheme that encourages people, particularly those on low incomes, to save money towards the cost of Christmas. The media response has been quite surprising and I wonder why this investment collapse is more newsworthy than the many other collapses of pension schemes etc that have happened. The collapse must be most hurtful to those people who have encouraged their friends and family to use the scheme, under the impression that it was a safe means of saving. They must feel like they have conned their friends. The aspect of this story that really concerns me is the way in which it is portrayed that without money and gifts it will be impossible for these families to have a good Christmas. MPs requesting money to help families have a good Christmas, supermarkets (who will benefit from the shopping in their stores) offering to help out, just fuels this idea of a capitalist Christmas, a celebration of wealth and the giving and receiving of gifts. It really seems that this is now what the public’s perception of this traditional holy day has become. A pagan sun festival adopted for the celebration of the birth of a saviour now demeaned as a day which requires wealth to enjoy. I remember my friend telling of how as a kid during the minor’s strike his family really had nothing at Christmas, no means at all to purchase gifts. The only gifts he received were some donated by the salvation army, yet despite this situation and the hardship, it really was a Christmas to remember, about a steadfast community united in a cause and not about how many gifts he received.

No comments: