EDITORIAL: Celebrate both ‘seasons’ with gusto
IN MANY RESPECTS, this has been an unusual lead-up to celebrations for Christmas this year.
The last 49 or so Christmases have been impacted by the fact that the celebration of our Independence falls four weeks before the highlight of the Christian calendar, the recognition of the birth of the Christ child on December 25.
But this year’s celebration of the 50th anniversary of Independence, with all of the hype associated with this major milestone, meant that we were bound to have a more muted spirit of Christmas 2016. And possibly, less money to spend on traditional Christmas cheer, be it toys or turkey.
The sluggish commercial start to December was inevitable in this unique circumstance. Therefore, without the usual momentum, the country went into the final week of December with less of frenzy than is usually the case. And this is likely to show in the numbers seen when businesses houses examine their cash registers.
Commercial houses all over those parts of the world where Christmas is celebrated get into advertising and promotions at least six weeks before Christmas Day.
In Barbados, the span is shorter. But should it be?
There has been much discussion on call-in programmes about the effect that the November 30 commemoration of Independence has on Christmas activity. Some business houses are reluctant to initiate Christmas publicity until the start of December each year for fear that it might have a negative effect on sales.
There seems to be a sentiment that the two – Independence and Christmas festivities – cannot exist together in the month of November. This reveals a lack of appreciation of what the two distinct things mean to Barbadians. Those who express the view that it is offensive to the notion of independence to encourage the thought of commercial Christmas activity in November fear that the attainment of independence would be lost in the Christmas bustle. They are wrong. The two milestones represent two completely different aspects of our social behaviour, one religious and the other nationalistic.
Those businesses that need a sustained period of pre-Christmas activity to generate business, and particularly those that depend almost solely on Christmas sales to meet their financial targets are hamstrung by the self-imposed restrictions of the pre-December period.
Barbadians can make the distinctions for themselves and celebrate both with the emotional and spiritual gusto they deserve.