Another Christmas Day celebration has ended, and as we look forward to the new year, it would be good to take some time to reflect on the extent to which our personal objectives were achieved in 2014.
Did we pass the exams to become better qualified, get that promotion, bought that house or vehicle we’ve always wanted, or went on that dream vacation?
Or are we one of the thousands who was laid off and now is struggling to pay the mortgage or rent, put food on the table, send children to school, and feeling hopeless?
The fact is, whether we are in the first or second category, or fit into neither, it is always necessary to pause and reflect on our lives and try to determine how we can improve on what we do.
This is particularly important at a time when finances and other resources are sparse. In order to survive we literally have to do more with less.
It is times like these that getting back to the basics – kitchen gardening, backyard farming, prudent selections at supermarkets and other retailers, energy conservation and a general adjustment in personal lifestyles – is necessary.
Over the last seven years as the economy was faltering, such change was suggested by various people, but it seems few took those appeals seriously.
Maybe this is why this Christmas, as has been the occurrence over the last several years, many householders were in a chaotic rush to purchase ready-made cakes, rather than bake their own.
Surely it is more cost effective to purchase a two-kilogram bag of flour, margarine, eggs and sugar to bake a couple of plain cakes rather than spend $16 to $22 for one ready-made cake.
Likewise, where there are no restrictive residential covenants on keeping livestock, why don’t more homeowners get into raising chickens – some for meat, others for eggs – or rabbits.
Once the pens are properly set up and correctly lined, they are unlikely to be smelly and an inconvenience to neighbours.
The point is, such husbandry would prove a fillip for families on a tight budget. It would also enlighten children in this technological age to the realisation of a world other than what is portrayed on their tablets and phones.
Furthermore, such a move would help to inculcate thriftiness and teach them to be more responsible.
Though we recognise that times have long past when homeowners had little option but to provide their family with home-grown products to eat, there was undeniably an element of pride in people’s ability to do this.
We need to recapture that pride, that sense of duty, if as a society we are to survive the continuing economic downturn.
A continuous, strong message needs to be sent by our leaders urging people to review their lifestyles and temper their appetites for imported products.
At the same time they should be encouraged to consume more of what they can grow and only buy what they absolutely need.