CHRISTMAS is around the corner and the yuletide shopping spree is fast catching up with people, especially Christians who would like to mark the occasion by providing the best for the family, friends and acquaintances.

Indeed, an occasion like Christmas offers a unique opportunity for Christians to mark the birth of Christ and give thanks and praises to God for his grace and mercies which certainly calls for merry making.

During this period, there is the tendency for families to spend a lot of money buying things for family and friends.

And over spending on such occasions put strain on the family budget and therefore create financial challenges.

This is why we share in the admonition of the Head of Retail Banking at First National Bank, Mrs Hannah Annobil-Acquah to the public to spend cautiously in order not to create financial problems for themselves.

She expressed the view that thoughtless spending could create debt and financial problem for people because of the tendency to spend lavishly in festive seasons without considering their financial resources.

The banker entreated the citizenry to check the amount in their bank account, savings accounts and credit cards as well as other obligations on their homes, personal loans and hire purchase, to make good judgement on further expenditure.

The Ghanaian Times believes that the advice from the banker is timely and worth considering, given that festive occasions like Christians are not occasions for spending competition; but an occasion to celebrate in moderation by cutting our coats according to our sizes.

It is our considered opinion that it is possible to make Christmas celebration a grand but modest one for our family, our neighbours and the needy in society by spreading happiness without having to over run our budgets.

We need to make provisions for other commitments after the yuletide and we should not be found wanting by over spending our budget and be caught up in post-Christmas debt handover.

It is more fulfilling during festive occasions to spend within our means and commit to God to continue to bless us with his mercies and bounties for our survival.

This is the occasion that the Ghanaian markets put on display assorted items from food to confectionery, costumes and cosmetics. Regrettably some of the items on the open markets are smuggled into the country while others may be expired.

Additionally, consumers are at the mercy of all kinds of advertisements and promotional sales that rather appeal to their emotions than their tastes.

We urge the public to be cautious about the market landscape as they go to shop so that they would not be trapped into purchasing items that are unwholesome.

While we advice the public to be their own consumer watch and be more vigilant about the market, we urge the regulatory bodies to continue with the market surveillance to protect the consumer from unwholesome and poor quality products that make their way on to the market.

Christmas is a joyous occasion; let’s celebrate in moderation by being vigilant and spend within our means.

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