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A Christmas cheer medley

Author: Ajoa Yeboah-Afari
Christmas cards

Christmas week and not a single card has landed in my post box! The way things are going, very soon children will be asking in puzzlement, “what is a Christmas card?”

Well, I confess that I myself haven’t sent anybody a card, so I suppose I have no right to complain.

But actually, I’m not complaining; I’m just sharing an observation about one more practice that has now become a victim of ‘advancement’.

Christmas decorations are still to be found, but for some reason the accompanying cards have been pushed out – no doubt by the advent of Information and Communications Technology.

I suppose that for some of us the reason we stopped sending Christmas cards was simply the attendant rising expense. Also, having bought the cards, there was the tedious work of signing them and addressing the envelopes, not to mention the cost of postage.

Nevertheless, as far as I’m concerned, a Christmas card makes a better impact than a text message or the now popular eCards. Besides, a traditional card is something you can keep for years. 

Also, not surprisingly, the cost of official Christmas hampers presented by ministries and departments to board members and others, which came into vogue in a big way a few years ago, kept rising, adding alarmingly to the government’s expenditure. 

Those charged with organising hampers on behalf of their ministries and departments, allegedly made a tidy annual profit from that assignment. Little wonder President John Atta Mills banned the giving of hampers bought with state money. 

But one very Ghanaian Christmas practice that persists is the annoying ‘Christmas box’ practice that some misguided employees embarrass their customers and clients with. The ‘Christmas box’ is prominently displayed and customers are supposed to drop in some money for the staff.

Those employees don’t seem to understand that it should be the other way round: that, rather, it is their outfit, store or organisation that is supposed to give presents to their regular customers and clients to thank them for buying from them, or employing their services during the year, thus helping to keep them in business.

However, our banks seem to understand this ‘appreciation-to-customers’ concept very well.

Evidently, it’s not only Christmas cards that have practically died out; other greeting cards, too, are on the way out. So what do those manufacturers now do to earn a living?

I suppose that some of them have moved into the eCards business. And the flexibility of the eCards system is simply amazing! There are even cards that also play tunes or songs for the recipient.

Anyway, enough of such mundane matters when there are exciting, political, election stories and developments in this last quarter of 2016 to be considered: the US election; the Gambia election and, of course our own general election.

While praying for a happy outcome eventually also in The Gambia, for those still wondering about what happened in America, I want to share a perspective that a Caribbean friend sent me regarding the shock election of Mr Donald Trump as America’s President-elect:                         

“You can at least enjoy the fact that he's going to absolutely HATE this job. He's going to have to come up with actual policies that benefit Americans with no profit to him.

“He's going to make a fool of himself in front of every foreign dignitary because he's not going to bother learning any of their customs.

“For four years, he's going to be roughly criticised, work with people he doesn't want to work with, deal with the press asking questions he doesn't want to answer, sit through extraordinarily boring meeting and events, be obliged to read, not be able to do his usual work, and not golf.

“He's going to live in a fishbowl where the mic is ALWAYS on, and be nice to people he doesn't like. He will have to resist grabbing and kissing women without their permission.

He will have to concentrate every minute on not saying or doing something that's sexist, racist, or extremely stupid. He's going to have to do this for looooong four years.

“Everything he touches will have to be successful. Every hyperbolic election promises must be kept, and one of those hyperbolic promises was never letting anybody down and making foreign governments pay for things.

“If he tries to build the wall, the first thing he's going to have to do is claim eminent domain and thoroughly piss off a few hundred thousand households for a few hundred thousand miles.

“Because of his choices, his wife, who didn't want him to run because she liked their life the way it was, will have to go out there and be some kind of ambassador and come up with some noncontroversial non-profit theme she has to work on.

“She's going to have to give speeches. She's going to have to totally change her wardrobe. Her days will be scheduled by somebody else who expects his high-paid model to do all of this out of the goodness of her heart.

“Everywhere she goes people will ask her what she thinks about something Trump is doing and she will be expected to understand and keep up with all of that. She will be a full-time Trump apologist.

“And he's only going to be making $250,000 a year.

“This is going to be the longest four years of his life,” the piece concluded.

I would say that there’s definitely a lot of Christmas cheer in the above for Hillary Clinton fans and well-wishers!

Furthermore, if you belong to the ‘what is good for the goose is good for the gander’ school of thought, the following snippet in a British magazine, THE WEEK, might also be of interest:

Donald Trump is often said to have started the “birther movement” against Barack Obama. Now he has one of his own: according to a Pakistani news channel, Trump was born not in the US – but in Waziristan.

Apparently, the president-elect’s real name is Dawood Ibrahim Khan, and he was educated in a madrasa until 1954, when his parents were killed in a car crash. He was then taken to London by a British Army officer – and adopted by the Trump family.

Neo News says it has compelling evidence of its claim … and is demanding (that) Trump produce his birth certificate to establish his true identity.


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