The running of the Shoppers.

Grand dad Oosterman design of church window

Grand dad Oosterman design of church window

It has been written by others that Christmas period is often highly charged. It would be wise to remain in control. The police are never so busy as during the Christmas and New Year period. While we are glowing with joy, shaking hands, giving presents and baking the dinner, others often feel less convivial. Whatever we might feel, both the good and bad reach fever-pitch in the lead-up to Christmas. It is a period of great expectations for happiness but we would be wise to remain wary and wise to the images of commerce and tinkling cash registers that want to sweep all before it. A tsunami of reckless spending and gluttony is threatening all. This is the opposite of happiness. The nail in the coffin for what Christmas used to have, is the almost demonic commercialism of it all. Joseph and Mary would turn in their graves. Baby Jesus would weep, I am sure.

Many shoppers even at this early stage are already running around nervously. They confer by iPhone for advice on whether the pavlova is better or cheaper at Woollies or Aldi. Should they get the double smoked ham now? Yet, was it only last year they promised not to ever get ham again. Or has it been forgotten that the pavlova ended up in the recycle bin with rotten mangoes and the over-ripe prawns? The trolleys are already being filled as if expecting a Russian bombardment. Calm down. The shops will only be closed for one day. Remember, last year how the David Jones’s crowd on boxing day slept overnight outside in order to get T-shirts at a fantastic discount on Boxing day? Yet, a cursory look inside their wardrobes might well indicate a huge surplus of T-shirts. How can commerce have such grip on us?
Still, let’s not get too churlish. The ones that ought to be allowed to enjoy the magic of a happy Christmas are the children.

But, dear Lord; what about Aleppo? What about the Syrian Christmas? I am afraid that we shall just continue to keep our eyes closed and switch of the telly or change over to the cricket score instead. The shouting about war crimes being committed are now just that, shouts.

I noticed that the Johny O’keefe song ‘ You wanna make me shout’ is now being used in a commercial without even a hint of an acknowledgement to the long dead pop-star. The patent on his music score must have run out and is now blatantly being used to sell stuff. Nothing is spared to make a buck, especially not a dead pop star.

Of course, if we want to revive the true spirit of Christmas we should just ignore the lure of the shopping and spending. Remembering it is a time for friendship, sharing and giving. Spare a thought for the refugees on Manus and Nauru detention. Hopefully, they will be finally allowed out of those torture camps and welcomed in the US. After three years, surely they deserve a good outcome.

What did they ever do wrong?

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22 Responses to “The running of the Shoppers.”

  1. petspeopleandlife Says:

    Nicely written, Gerard. I must say that many folks actually go nuts in December. I get depressed and don’t give a fig about extravagant and elaborate food, decorations and, gifts. I give my kiddos money and I send Christmas cards. I used to make cookies and my secret recipe of pumpkin bread. But since my husband died I seldom bake anymore.

    On Christmas Day I just want to be alone and rest. I’ve been doing this for the past six years. I don’t feel any need to visit or dress up and socialize with anyone. And I’m happy. Yes, I am eccentric as my children often say.

    It would be wonderful if the refugees were allowed freedom and a place to live. Who knows maybe there is someone in your government who is compassionate.

    Liked by 5 people

    • gerard oosterman Says:

      Christmas can be a difficult time, PP and life, and thank you for the compliment. Much appreciated!

      It can also be a time to take a bit of peace and quiet, especially afterwards.
      I like reflection and pondering over nothing and everything. It is just within those large Shopping Malls where the atmosphere is at fever pitch.
      There is this constant shrieking of those credit cards, thousands of them being scanned, sliding in and out, all at the same time, and the combined sound is like something out of a zoo on fire. And I am deaf!

      You then feel all is lost and all is so hopeless. We don’t hear the sound of the Nightingale or the wind in the willows. That is the problem.

      Liked by 2 people

  2. Yvonne Says:

    You’re so right, in the midst of all this consumerism, tens of thousands of people live in fear of their lives, and others are homeless for other reasons than war. The refugees on Manus and Nauru have nothing to look forward to than more bleak imprisonment, unless the new political guard in the US honours the agreement with our government. It’s a mad world. Bah …

    Liked by 3 people

  3. jennypellett Says:

    What about Aleppo, indeed. I can’t get fired up about Christmas at all while images from Syria are so very horrific. Who are we to celebrate and over eat ourselves into a stupor while those poor people are stuck in a living hell.
    Good post, Gerard, thanks for the opportunity to pause. The stained glass window is beautiful.

    Liked by 2 people

    • gerard oosterman Says:

      Thank you, Jenny.
      Some people in Aleppo are now at last being bussed out. Syria is in ruins and it’s called a ‘victory’. Millions of displaced people with bodies washed up on shores. The Christmas spirit is getting harder to celebrate.


  4. berlioz1935 Says:

    Gerard, what a good summary of what is going on at this Christmas. You are a wise man and I agree with you on every word you wrote. I wonder whether people recognise the irony of the “Middle Eastern Couple looking for shelter” as we lock them up like criminals on those damned islands in the Pacific. Peter Dutton speaks of Christian values but he is the one who would lock up Jesus forever if he could.

    Liked by 2 people

    • gerard oosterman Says:

      Thank you, Berlioz.

      With all that what is going on; do we have to have another Christmas? Dutton is the reason for all the cruelty meted out. Of course, there are now so many Duttons
      I remember last year’s Christmas when concerns were raised about the refugees on Manus and Nauru.

      Why can’t Australia do what the South Koreans are doing? What happened to the power of protest?

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Happy Go lucky Says:

    Best time of the year to stay safely at home or with friends. Stay well away from shopping centres and restrict driving at all costs. The pace out there is frantic, contorted faces a plenty, mobile phone buttons getting a pounding !

    Liked by 2 people

    • gerard oosterman Says:

      Last year at Woollies I noticed a couple fighting over a double smoked leg of ham. An old man was sobbing outside the same store. He had forgotten where he had left his wife who was found wandering around aimlessly around the dairy division.


  6. auntyuta Says:

    Very impressive caption on the Nativity scene, Gerard. And the design of the church window is truly beautiful.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Happy Go lucky Says:

    Perhaps protests are not as common due to many more conflicts around the globe. It was the Korean War, the Vietnam war, Ireland, Timor etc but was mostly not happening all at once like now. Maybe people have become immune to seeing misery. I think fewer young adults give a dam. More interested in facebook !!


    • gerard oosterman Says:

      I think some younger people do care and protest. Those hanging that banner from our parliament a case in point. It are the professors/ teachers and academics who now toe the line afraid of losing their jobs.


  8. gerard oosterman Says:

    In the meantime we might consider why obesity in countries such as Finland and Holland is a lot less.
    Have a look at this link and reflect on how physical activity helps to keep weight down. ( no helmets either or lycra.)


  9. chris hunter Says:

    Well I agree with all of the above, and yes, the stained glass windows are beautiful indeed. I suppose I could get all bitter and twisted about the state of affairs, how the world seems to be a paradise lost with little hope of redemption, which is the truth of course, so I’m going to look entirely in the opposite direction and offer a small, albeit corny ditty I wrote earlier this year, by way of a balm, perhaps something to soothe our troubled hearts:

    Tongue Tied

    I saw you at the river
    Tying up your auburn hair
    And betting at the races
    While at the country fair

    At so many places
    I’ve seen you so divine
    My love received no answers
    No providential sign

    That was until I met you
    In an unexpected way
    My head went quite to water
    Tongue knew not what to say

    Yet now we’ve been together
    For many years and more
    The words I found impossible
    From my heart do pour…


  10. gerard oosterman Says:

    Very nice poem, Chris. It is not corny. Thank you.

    The world is not a pretty place right now but I read somewhere that the enemy is us.

    All the best for the Christmas and coming year. From Helvi too.


    • chris hunter Says:

      Thanks Gerard, and the very best Xmas/New Year wishes to you and Helvi – a pleasure to be a part of your wonderful blog. Cheers.


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