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Hol’ Ahn To Yuh Two Shillin’!

FeaturesHol’ Ahn To Yuh Two Shillin’!

by Rudolph A. Neal

With festivities already planned and celebrations underway in commemoration of Garifuna Settlement Day, a flurry of pre-sales promotions is going on as a backdrop to beckon in the Christmas season. The ‘chillies’ have slowly begun to fill the air, and although Garifuna Settlement Day has not passed yet, the merchants are wasting no time to lure the buyers in to jumpstart the Christmas spirit. Within a mere few days, the age-old classic by Bing Crosby will reign supreme as it “begins to look a lot like Christmas”.

But on the flip side of this, one cannot lose sight that while it may be beginning to look and feel a lot like Christmas, we are experiencing one of the worst bouts of inflation; almost half of our people are teetering on the brink of poverty; many are still trying to recover from the effects of Hurricane Lisa, and many more are still waiting for NEMO. Therefore, in these trying times, when money is scarce and hard to come by and the cost of living has skyrocketed seemingly unabated, don’t be lured into the commercialization and merchandising of Christmas; instead, hol’ ahn to yuh two shillin’!

Christmas is the time when Belizeans are known to go “all out”. As a people, we have been terribly infected with the notion that in order to feel the “Christmas Spirit” and enjoy the season, we must engage in prolific shopping and mass procurement of stuff. This has precipitated a culture where, when Christmas comes around, we shop avidly and spend money wildly, and often irresponsibly, so as to “deck the halls with boughs of holly”. But all things considered, this fervent shopping and gross merchandising has led to a great commercialization of Christmas, and we have wittingly fallen victim to this idiosyncratic falsehood.

Too often, we bend ourselves backward to keep up with the neighbors and coworkers and those who are in a position to spend on Christmas. This time has led people to drive themselves crazy, seeking to buy this, and buy that for the holidays. It is unfathomable to think that the entire year, you lived fairly decently and survived pretty well without a new area rug, new cups and dishes, new table decors and window drapes; but yet, because of one day, that has been converted into a season of merchandising and commercialization, you feel the need to hassle yourself and spend your little bit of money on Christmas, so as to provide yourself with a sort of consolation that you are enjoying the Christmas season and living.

One cannot overemphasize that these are some hard and trying times, marred by one tempestuous occasion after the other. The cost of living continues to rise steadily, and basic commodities that were (once) deemed rudimentary, have been placed on the list of “top shelf” luxury items, completely out of reach for the ordinary shopper. The sad news is, it ain’t gonna get better in December, nor in January nor for the greater foreseeable part of 2023, to come. Many people are still waiting on support and assistance in the wake of Hurricane Lisa, and with many more wallowing in indigence and penury, don’t waste your time and your money being caught up in this merchant’s season and spending your money to make you “feel” Christmas. Christmas is a spirit, a feeling of warmth and love and care, one that drives us to share and spread joy; not to burden ourselves and put ourselves in debt. Life is hard, people. Ih nuh di lick, ih di buck! Don’t be caught up in this season of merchandizing and spending your money; hol’ ahn to yuh two shillin’!

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