Christmas doesn't feel like Christmas anymore

December 17, 2015

Christmas in Jamaica these days is like Christmas in the dark ages. Everything is dark. We are like a week away from Christmas and I barely see any Christmas lights anywhere. Yes, I know the National Housing Trust has decorated a few trees in Emancipation Park and the hotels have lights up because they are catering to visitors who expect to come to Jamaica and still live like the way they do wherever they are coming from. But they had better be careful not to venture too far or else they might lose the Christmas spirit.
Truth be told, times are hard and Christmas really doesn’t feel like Christmas anymore. Well, not to me. I am sure there are people out there who are living well. They have trees up and by next week there will be tons of presents under those trees. And come Christmas Day, there will be many happy faces as people gleefully unwrap their gifts.
For many of us, however, Christmas is increasingly becoming a time when we dread looking forward to the New Year. When I was a child, New Year's Day usually represented exciting times ahead; a new beginning, a new platform from which you would launch your next 365-day adventure. Me, I am just going to hold my corner and hope.
This has been another tough year for many people. People are losing their jobs and more will be lost in 2016. There are more criminals on the street, the little money you have has to be guarded like your life depended on it. Well, it actually does. Christmas is a time when many of us look forward to getting a barrel of goodies from our relatives abroad, who took the entire year to fill it with things that you need for your very survival – food, some clothes and a few luxuries. But even that is at risk these days.
Just this week an advisory was sent out to persons visiting Newport East to collect their Christmas barrels.
The advisory said: “Clients conducting business at the Jamaica Customs Agency’s (JCA) Newport East office in Kingston, as well as its other locations, during this yuletide season, are urged to exercise caution as a number of robberies and attempted robberies have been reported in and around the downtown Kingston commercial district.
“Clients visiting financial institutions to make cash withdrawals before coming to the Customs Agency are also being urged to be on alert when leaving these institutions and to ensure that they are not being followed especially by men on motor cycles.
Additionally, the Jamaica Customs Agency wishes to encourage clients to:
• Utilize the non-cash payment options available at the agency or through their financial institutions.
• Have your driver drop you off in the closest proximity to the Customs House, Newport East gate
• Utilise the Customs car park
• Request the assistance of the police or private security when transporting large sums of cash to and from financial institutions.”
I mean, nothing is safe anymore.  There are those of us who lie in wait to rob people of the only bright spark in their lives, the one they usually get at Christmas. Come on, have we got that bad that nobody and nothing is safe anymore?
Have we become such a desperate people that we can’t even grant our fellow Jamaicans a little reprieve from the madness even at Christmas?
Surely we can do better. We have to.
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