With Christmas just around the corner, members of the Christian community can be seen planning shopping expeditions and making their way to the markets amid preparations to celebrate the most important day in Christianity.
Decoration of churches is in full swing, with every nook and cranny being bedecked with colourful buntings and a wide array of lights. At home, families have already started adorning Christmas trees with traditional trinkets such as ornaments, tinsel, fairy lights and garlands.
The government has announced that Christian employees will be given their salaries on December 20 and has issued an official notification to that effect.
Markets geared towards Christmas shopping have extended their hours and remain open till midnight. Simultaneously, shopkeepers have increased the prices of clothing and shoes for children, men and women alike by 30 to 40 per cent.
Christian families belonging to the middle-and-lower-income groups who previously shopped from places like Saddar, Commercial Market, Baara Bazaar, Gakhar Plaza etc are finding it hard to make their purchases from the same shops due to a sharp increase in prices.
Instead, this year many of them are heading towards shops in Raja Bazaar, Moti Bazar and Iqbal Road, where they buy dresses made from cut pieces sourced from the flea market at more affordable rates for their children.
On the other hand, prices of Christmas tree decorations are also soaring, forcing families to either minimise the usual ornamentation or to give it up altogether.
Daniel Chaudhry, a father of five, has said that the skyrocketing inflation has put a big dent in his family’s preparations for Christmas festivities. Chaudhry, a Scale 7 employee, said that this year the calculation of clothes and shoes alone for Christmas for his wife and children is coming between Rs40,000 to Rs50,000, while his salary is Rs47,000.
“After Christmas, we hold New Year’s celebrations too,” he said. “I don’t know how I will survive until I get my next salary in February.”
Meanwhile, Joseph Smith said that it is no longer possible for him to buy things for Christmas from the open market and that he has to make do with outfits made from cut pieces in Raja Bazaar.
Published in The Express Tribune, December 13th, 2021.