By Nik Butler
Congratulations to you, you made it. Past parking charges and unqualified queues; your loyalty cards are stamped and your end of year wrapping paper waste has exponentially undone all the good recycled deeds of the year. You are a consumer. You have wrapped, written, wished, given, fed, drunk, and you have passively consumed all in accordance with the good seasonal tradition.
Now is your chance to listen to some timeworn message of spiritual hope and charity then tune into whatever transpires for the current festive special edition entertainment that will devour the dark hours until you surrender in comatose to the christmas debauchery. You will wonder if you can ever undo the financial damage inflicted upon your bank cards.
Christmas is such a wonderful time is it not? No wonder Frank Capra through his film ‘Its A Wonderful Life’ thought to indulge the idea that it is a time which drives many to taking their lives. In reality this time of year serves as no different to any other in respect to those who feel the pressure of life constantly burdening their days.
Thanks in part to the continuing cuts in social care, the removal of benefits, and the persistence attitude that mental health issues just need a ‘jolly good talking too’ we as a society are squeezed ever more by the effort to stay on top of life’s demands.
If you are fortunate enough to be emotionally supported through a suitable income or surrounded by relationships which enrich your experiences of life then these conditions are manageable. So in a time when everyone is driven to be better at demonstrating their capacity to give, give more, and give further it highlights those who feel there is much that is expected and nothing they can give.
The time to fix this is not in a few short dark months; but in every month of every year. To realise that for every one headline of selfish benefit indulgents there are thousands of legitimate claimants who are now penalised by perception over their situation.
Therefore before you pull that cracker and wear a silly paper hat take a moment to ask if maybe our culture, which many seek to protect, might not benefit from investment in people and communities over properties and consumerism. And with that I want to thank you for consuming these little thoughts throughout the Year. Merry Christmas Everybody.