Readers' letters - December 15

Lessons for Christmas

Thursday, 15th December 2016, 9:31 am
Updated Thursday, 15th December 2016, 11:22 am
Theres more to Christmas than just consumerism  even for non-believers  says a reader

Bah humbug!

I wasn’t at first sure if it was Ebenezer Scrooge or Oliver Cromwell (who banned Christmas as it clashed with his Puritan ideals) who wrote the letter re: Christmas – it’s just a chore (WEP December 14).

But then I realised it was a WEP reader called Harry Francis.

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I actually agree with him in a way.

Too many families spend beyond their means, and there is too much consumerism and overindulgence in food and drink.

To be fair to Christmas, this sounds a little like the worst aspects of capitalist society in general to me.

Black Friday, Boxing Day Sales, Christmas, any excuse for a spending spree.

It’s not just at Christmas that people’s greed gets the better of them. But is this what Christmas really about?

The Christmas story, whether one believes in it or not, is about a couple expecting a child fleeing from persecution in another country.

After many doors shut in their faces, they eventually find refuge ... and, after the mother gives birth to a son, family and hope.

Not relevant for our 

Maybe, if you feel you have to believe in God to appreciate lessons from a story, whether historical and real or a fable. But even looking at it from a non-religious, secular angle, even if it is just a ‘fairy-tale’, it still teaches me a lot.

Every time I have a negative thought about those who are less fortunate, I try to think of this family and their modern day counterparts.

Obviously the birth of Jesus is the reason for Christians to celebrate Christmas, but I think another deeper meaning of Christmas for us all should be about appreciating loved ones and trying to be more charitable to those people and animals less fortunate than us.

Now, if we think of Christmas in this way instead of as a consumerist greed-fest, is it still a meaningless irrelevance?


via email


Have respect for workers

I would like to wish your readers a very merry Christmas.

We know it can be frantic trying to get everything ready for the big day.

I want to gently remind your readers to remember that shop workers are people as well.

They will be working hard to make your shopping experience as stress-free as possible.

A recent survey showed that in every minute of the working day another shop worker is verbally abused, threatened with violence or physically attacked.

Such incidents are more frequent throughout the Christmas and New Year period when shops are busier, customers can be stressed and are more likely to take out their frustration on staff.

Verbal abuse cuts deep.

Many will go home after a shift upset about an unpleasant incident that took place at work that day and worried that it will happen to them again.

That is why Usdaw, the shop workers’ union, is running a Respect for Shopworkers campaign, asking customers to ‘Keep your Cool at Christmas’. It’s a simple message, but remembering that shop workers are working extra hard at this time and treating them with respect will mean that everyone can have a happier Christmas.

John Hannett

General Secretary

Union of Shop, Distributive
and Allied Workers (Usdaw)