WEATHER-wise, Saint Lucians might be in for a better Christmas season this year than they got last year. This would at least offer some respite to the perennial complaint that seems to suggest that things are never nice financially especially around Christmas time. If the current weather pattern holds up, Saint Lucians would not be caught off-guard by an unrelenting trough holding bags of groceries on Christmas Eve.
There is simply no denying that the local economy has not performed as it should over the past 12 months. Despite the tourism sector playing a major role in generating economic activity – currently boasting about 6% performance growth over last year – other sectors of the economy really felt the pinch. Many companies found it difficult to keep their doors open let alone pay their staff. With the Christmas season already in full bloom, many companies are already hinting that Christmas bonuses might not be paid out this year.
For many, the Christmas tradition is slowly becoming a thing of the past. Many see it as a way of Big Business cashing in on the little savings they would have tucked away for an important purpose. Others consider the extravagance that obtains during the season as one of the crucial factors why come January, the new year is already off to a financially-challenged start.
These days there’s a sale on almost any good and service one can think of. Every business-place is making a concerted effort to cajole consumers to spend all that they hardly have on things they barely need. After all, it’s the Christmas spirit that counts and the more spending on that spirit the better the season, right?
True to form, many Saint Lucians – including those who continue to reiterate the “things not nice” lament – will throw caution to the wind and shell out their hard-earned dollars to celebrate the spirit of the season. As much as they try to delay it, many will end up in the spending spree that leaves business-places smiling and their cashiers tired.
While encouraging anyone to become a modern-day Ebenezer Scrooge is not the aim, it should be incumbent on everyone’s part to be wise with every penny spent on a season whose debts often outlast its two weeks or so run. Many Saint Lucians might have felt cheated by not being able to celebrate a quiet Christmas last year and might be planning to make up for it in a big way this year. However, such plans need to be curtailed in the interest of financial prudence.
If anything, one needs to follow the wisdom of simple creatures such as the ants and squirrels who store up their resources for difficult times. While Christmas might catch us at a difficult juncture, though, it’s not the kind of occasion where we should be using up what we need in the long-term for the sake of a short-lived celebration. Christmas should be the season of spreading joy and love – not for squandering our hard-earned resources.