To Smith and Caughey, for seasonal lulz; there is nothing like a department store to bring out the camp in Christmas. I am sure Fundy Post readers will want to know how the rich (or, to the use the politically correct term, people of money) will be spending their riches this Christmas. So I patrolled the decked aisles of Smith and Caughey's Christmas department and I can reveal, exclusively to you, that this year's hot item is...
...a paper bag. You read me right. A paper bag. Not just any old paper bag, of course; that would be silly. This paper bag in fact is an "old-fashioned paper bag lantern." For a mere fourteen dollars you can purchase a plastic bag filled with "six reusable, flame retardant, grocery-style bags." You will also have to make an additional investment of some night lights to put in the bags, so as to transform them into lanterns. A serving suggestion on the plastic bag which contains the paper bags shows the completed bag and night light combinations deployed to line a driveway. Given the length of driveways in Rem, the purchaser will need quite a few bags. But a bag is not just for Christmas: the instructions on the plastic bag also suggest using the paper bags to light your dinner party table.
It is a different world, that of the people of money. I am ignorant of the history of the old-fashioned paper bag lantern, if it has one. I would imagine that at some time and place in the quaint past, people without money put candles in paper bags to make lanterns, because they could not afford anything more elaborate. Now people of money can imitate the simple pleasures of the poor, without even having to go to the trouble of hoarding their grocery bags, and safe in the knowledge that these bags are flame retardant.
Perhaps I should not mock the people of money any further. This Christmas will not be easy for them. On the very day that I visited Smith and Caughey, the Herald used the last of its red ink to announce the passing of the Electoral Finance Bill into law, solemnly noting that Parliament's decision has "changed the way New Zealanders can participate in elections." I expect this is true for the New Zealanders who buy paper bag lanterns. It probably will make little difference for those who use bags solely for shopping purposes. If you are in Pak'n'Save filling your own bags with groceries, you probably are not grieving that the Government no longer allows you to spend a million dollars running a covert election campaign. You are probably more concerned with packing and saving.