The New Zealand Railways Magazine, Volume 5, Issue 7 (December 1, 1930)
Our Women's Section — Christmas Presents And Festivities
I have heard an ominous whisper that this Christmas will be a dull affair; quiet, joyless, and oppressed by a grey cloud of gloom. “Things are bad,” they tell us. “The country has reached a financial crisis. Money is tight.” Indeed, at the present moment you can't travel in a railway carriage, stand among a crowd, or pick up a newspaper without hearing or reading some reference to the “rottenness of the State of Denmark.” The labourer waxes eloquent on his way to work in the morning, the business man allows his lunch to grow cold while he propounds his pet economic theories to a heated companion; and even the housewife (why the even?— mere force of habit) has a great deal to say on the subject over the back fence to her neighbour, while hanging out the washing. In fact, I heard of a bridge afternoon where not a single hand was played because the ladies became so engrossed in problems of the State! All sections of the community are suffering from the “slump,” and the dread word “unemployment” hangs sword-like over us all
At first glance it certainly does seem evident that a rather sombre and grey Christmas for New Zealanders will be celebrated this year. Certainly nearly all of us are “hard-up” and feeling a need for economy, but why on earth should lack of money spoil the holiday season for us? If so, surely we have forgotten the true significance of Christmas— a time for rejoicing— and have grown to regard it as a mere orgy, an excuse for tremendous feeding and lavish expenditure on costly gifts for our friends. The spirit of giving has been dying among us— and this Christmas will revive it, proving that “it's an ill wind,” etc.
Let our gifts and celebrations this year be simple— they will be appreciated equally— and let us all be jolly and rejoice in a more primitive and sincere way than has been our custom. If we have to “save money” there is no reason why we should mourn— Christmas is Christmas whether affairs are prosperous or otherwise. We still have the sun, and the hills and sea, and the gorse of New Zealand, and her colours, and above all her youth and optimism. Money, after all, cannot buy these for us— they are ours by natural right.
Our Christmas presents this year are going to be cheap— many of them made by ourselves— and probably more valued than ever before. There are hundreds of things an ingenious person can devise page 50 page 51 when necessity compels, and we are still children enough to experience a glorious feeling of pride in our handiwork. Several women are discovering really engrossing hobbies in an endeavour to make cheap yet attractive Christmas presents— leather work especially— which proves absolutely absorbing and results in most attractive and useful gifts.
There may be a lack of money, unemployment, a general and oppressive “slump,” and a black cloud over things financial; but, on the other hand, there is a spirit of rejoicing, of devising, of enterprise, of cheer, and happy economy which is going to prevail throughout the festive season of Christmas, 1930.