Suddenly crowds must be Christmas

By Ross Pringle

Forgive me if this offering isn't up to the usual standard.

You see, I wasn't fully expecting to have to write anything, with the end of the world kind of making that redundant.

But, given you are now reading it, it's safe to say that much-discussed prophecy didn't amount to much. I can't say I'm too surprised at the outcome, or lack thereof.

One thing though that could in part be attributed to the supposed end, was the seemingly sudden increase in the number of people out and about.

Personally, I doubt it was because of any doomsday prophecy but more due to the weather - odour issues aside - and the time of year. I am never quite prepared for the way the population seems to surge at this time of year. You wonder where all the people have been for the past 11 months and why they have suddenly appeared now.

Clearly, it's all about preparation for Christmas and, for many, holidays with family and friends. Anyone working through the Christmas-New Year period will find it can be a lonely time. It can be hard motivating yourself to get up and go to work while everyone else is relaxing and enjoying the fruits of your labour.

While there is much to like about this time of year, it does have its downsides too, with increased stress levels and the financial burden it can impose.

Christmas itself seems to mean different things to different people. To the non-religious, it is a time of relaxation and reflection, precious hours or days spent with loved ones. Others enjoy the religious festival for its significance. For others, there is a seeming obsession with attempting to sate an insatiable desire to consume.

I sometimes wonder at the extent people are aware of the real reason for particular holidays and was quite impressed when our 7-year-old burst forth into discussion with our just-turned 5-year-old about Jesus and Christmas. Whether they carry those beliefs with them for the rest of their lives or not, it is important they know the basis for the festivals we so often celebrate.

So, whatever your plans for this festive period, or what it means to you personally, on behalf of the Chronicle, I wish you a safe and happy Christmas. If you are going away, travel safely and make sure you make arrangements to protect your property.

To those staying here, the Chronicle will be with you throughout, apart from Christmas Day, with our series looking at people who collect things, as well as great features, and all the news you need for the summer break.


- Wanganui Chronicle

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