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The bells stopped jingling


I absolutely LOVED the festive season - everything about it

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Once upon a time, long, long ago, in a far, far, faraway kingdom lived a boy who loved the festive season. Of course, when I say “faraway” I am referring to conditions, not distance. And, you may have guessed it already, when I say “boy” I am speaking about myself.

I absolutely LOVED the festive season – everything about it.

I loved how in early December the department stores and supermarkets were all festive and trimmed, and Christmas food started appearing on shelves. It could not have been a very happy time in turkey and pig households, because frozen turkeys, hams and gammons started disappearing from their homes and materialising in supermarket freezers.

The toy departments in stores were my favourite. During this season these areas were extended, trimmed and lit up, and there was a sense of breathless wonder that came over me as I gazed at the toys. Mother and Father had to buy me a bib because of my Christmas time drooling condition.

The smells of baking wafted from homes, and when visiting family you’d see cake tins being filled with cookies. Occasionally, but only very rarely, you’d be given one biscuit to taste, and you were reminded quite firmly that the tins on the high shelves were for Christmas and therefore off-limits.

Toward the middle of the month you were taken shopping for your Christmas kit – the clothing stores made a booming trade. We were shuttled from Ebbies to Bachelors to The Family Outfitters to find the perfect ensemble. While Dad spoke cricket to the proprietors we, the youngsters, fitted on shoes, trousers and dresses.

Wait, that came out wrong. My sisters fitted on the dresses, let me make that clear! I wore big-boy pants.

These days the festive season starts building up toward the end of September already with Christmas trimmings and advertising becoming increasingly prominent.

But of late I have lost my sense of wonder and excitement. Instead I feel like a Christmas pig, or turkey.

The sense of wonder and excitement has been replaced by a sense of fear and foreboding that the tiny minority, who make up their wish lists and plan their “shopping sprees”, will break in to my home and harm my family.

At this very moment there are outlaws planning where to strike next, to not only steal from, but also hurt and humiliate their victims.

These outlaws have probably glamorised their “profession” and they can justify why they do it usually, according to them, someone else is to blame for their choices and they are the result of a bad deal. I do not know their circumstances, and I know it is stupid to generalise, but what I do know is that we all are free to choose whether we want to hurt or help, provide for or deprive others.

I am ever hopeful that I will open this newspaper in the next few days and read how police have swooped on and shut down a house robbery, hijacking or trafficking syndicate.

That may be up to the average citizen to help the police by being alert and reporting suspicious or out of the ordinary activity in our neighbourhoods.

Maybe if we did this we could undo the plans of those who intend to harm others and we could revive the magic and wonder of the festive seasons of long ago.

Bad people are everywhere, watch out for them. Not only do they rob and steal, but they vandalise, litter and violate basic laws. They steal emblems off cars and remove street signs from street corners; and do other crimes that usually slip under the radar, because we focus too much on the big, sensational crimes that make headlines.

And do you know that another “crime” is perpetrated, especially around this time of the year?

It happens when those who have an abundance make no plans to bring relief and joy to those who have nothing; so in a sense we all have a bit of outlaw inside of us.