Friday, 19 December 2008

Season of goodwill?

I haven’t had much time to prepare for Christmas this year. My tree’s still nakedly awaiting decoration and I’ve only just managed to send out a few cards – it’s all a bit last minute. The manic rush to get ready in time for Christmas has begun.

I noticed it today when I embarked upon the great annual Vacherin hunt. For the uninitiated, Vacherin is a rather runny and very smelly (some might agree with me that it’s also delicious) Swiss or French cheese. Every year I have a lunch with some friends and I take along a couple of Vacherins. However, when I left home this morning thinking I’d be back in twenty minutes with my curiously stinking fromages, I was sadly mistaken.

After 10 minutes of waiting in a queue for the Waitrose (known stockist of said cheese) car park, I decided to venture further afield to a very large branch of Sainsburys, where I eventually managed to find a space for my car. 15 minutes later, which is about the time it took me to find the cheese department, I discovered they had just about every cheese under the sun except Vacherin. Not wishing to stray into the congestion charge zone, I wracked my brains to think of a local deli that might sell such a delicacy – but as they're all Italian, I thought it probably unlikely. I decided to return to scope out the Waitrose traffic for a final attempt.

It was then I encountered the combined full-on force of Christmas shoppers, white van men making their final deliveries and holiday goers in London's dreaded Wandsworth one-way system. The lack of goodwill was astounding. Never before have I been so stunned by the sheer aggression, reckless regard for safety and the overarching urgency to get from A to B, no matter how dangerous the manoeuvres involved. Perhaps they were all flocking to the new Westfield centre in Shepherds Bush in search of discounted luxury designer goods, which is probably as near to shepherds and their flocks that most people will ever get these days.

My day hadn’t started that well either – as I got into the lift, an unusual smell wafted up – which soon became uncomfortably hideous and then unmistakably identifiable as the aftermath of a relatively recent barf. Unfortunately, it’s the time of year when, if you’re not shopping till you drop, you’re probably drinking till you pass out. Sadly, this is what 'celebrating' Christmas seems to have been reduced to.

We’re all stressed out, haring around like lunatics trying to find the latest 'must have' fashion accessories and queue-scuffling as we grab up trashy gifts because it’s the ‘season of giving’, we're drinking ourselves into an alcoholic stupor in the name of the ‘party season’ – in fact we're simply behaving like a bunch of animals. Whatever happened to the season of goodwill?

At ShopCurious, we’re proponents of the slow approach to life and the appreciation of timeless beauty, rather than disposable style. We suggest it might be apposite to give due consideration and pay a little more respect to others at this time of year – not just the guy in the car in front, or the woman ahead in the queue at the checkout, but also our friends and neighbours who are old, unwell, or in difficulty - like those who are newly unemployed. Whatever your nationality and whatever your faith, let’s keep this holiday season special for the right reasons - how about truth, beauty, peace and love for starters.

I’ll resume my search for cheese tomorrow.

Will you?


shinyee LY said...

First time come ur blog^^

Merry Christmas!!!

Susan said...

Wishing you a peaceful and happy Christmas in Malaysia.

Susan x