Xmas spending can leave you spooked

Kwanele Ndlovu Singles Lane
Usually, the task of making Christmas memorable for a dozen of family members falls on a few breadwinners. / SEFAKO MABUYA
Usually, the task of making Christmas memorable for a dozen of family members falls on a few breadwinners. / SEFAKO MABUYA

While the festive period is undoubtably a period of jovial family gatherings, reaping the year's rewards and thanksgiving - it remains depressive and financially suffocating. First there is the matter of the young kids. They have been in the same township all-year long.

They innocently yearn for an escapade and usually miss their grandparents and cousins. Unfortunately, considering that there will be seven of them visiting gran, they will not even get to go to a mall.

Someone sober will calculate that the fortune it costs to take the brat pack to the movies could buy a sack of braai packs and firecrackers. They must watch TV or go play outside. Back at the country home the gran is already complaining about the imposed visit by the kids, to her favourite child.

That would be the spawn who does not have capacity to contribute for Christmas. But this aunt is second-in-command at gran's.

She has already voiced out how much it angers her that the others dump their kids there and think she must look after them while they scratch their balls at work till the day before Christmas. The grandparents hardly have enough to feed a toddler, three English twanging brats and two teenagers. True.

But they love their grandchildren, and Christmas is all the more special when they are surrounded by the youngest generation in their family tree. A great number of such families are dependent on one or two breadwinners who are educated and have stable employment.

And so the task of making Christmas memorable for a dozen people falls on them. As soon as the month begins, it is as if they have never done a single thing for the family.

All memory is wiped off on all good deeds past and the year's worth of family responsibility is judged on Christmas send.

I have seen plenty of my peers overstretch themselves to fortify their breadwinner status. It is almost like they carry Santa Clause on their own shoulders!

They spend the money that would have afforded them a relaxed week-long holiday in Thailand on everyone from their bloodline who happens to be in their proximity during the festive period. They make instant loan application and maybe a few calls to old friends demanding payback on a loan from July, to pay their parents' debts.

Then add cheese and eggs and milk to everyone's daily consumption because breakfast is special kind of greasy around Christmas. They brought a Christmas tree and a gift for the parents.

But the parents only want money really. Then it rains on Christmas and everyone remembers that the roof has a leak. Well, this time the drops wet the breadwinner's laptop on the dresser, so maybe she will finally do something about it.

But she really does not have the money. She has just bought alcohol for New Year's Eve celebrations.

Only, someone has just made a comment that she was made aware of the leak a few months prior. They expected she would have saved some money all along to fix a few things.

So she sucks on the eight cider dumpie to silence their head from counting petrol, lunch and stationery costs for the month of January. Eventually, she resolves to spend a few more thousand rands. The last spend. She hands the money to her mother to find a local man to fix the roof. Her mother thanks God!

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