Beautiful Stripes: So this is farewell

  • Living
  • Tuesday, 03 Dec 2019

A couple carrying Christmas presents while shopping in the mall. It’s time to look past the tinsel and glitter and commercialisation of the season, and find our own meaning to Christmas. —

Well, what do you know! It’s already December – and the Christmas season has officially been launched with the appearance of (department store) John Lewis’ Christmas ad.

This year’s ad centres around a young dragon, Excitable Edgar, who finds the meaning of Christmas in the gift of a Christmas pudding. Not exactly something we can relate to here, but OK.

Other companies have also used various imaginary creatures to bring across the Christmas message. German retailer Aldi, with its Kevin the Carrot ad, takes home the 2019 prize for “most effective Christmas ad”. This was based on a number of criteria, among them, whether the ad was enjoyable and grabbed people’s attention, how emotional it made people feel, if it created brand memories, and least of all, does it celebrate the joy of christmas. Right there, that just killed it for me. When did Christmas end up becoming just another convenient vehicle to carry a brand message? A long time ago, I guess, when we were all out busy buying stuff in the guise of getting into the Christmas mood. In fact, retailer Asda didn’t even make the cut as its ad was said to be “too emotional and Christmassy”.

Wait, what did I miss? Last I heard, Christmas was all about spreading love, hope, glad tidings and joy. And sometimes, getting all happy and emotional about Yuletide may well be what’s needed to lift our spirits after a disappointing year.

Some people see the festivities as just another commercial exploitation, and it probably is, but for those of us who celebrate and believe in a risen Messiah, it is a reminder of what we hold to be true and an affirmation of our faith.

In an age when values are shaken and we are no longer sure of what we are holding on to anymore, it’s all the more reason to look past the tinsel and glitter, and find our own meaning to Christmas.

In my home, it’s tradition to have family and friends over for Christmas Eve dinner, bring everyone together for fellowship, and later, open presents at midnight. Next morning, it’s always a challenge, but we make it for Christmas service.

There are no grand plans or any life-changing events in store. But this, for me, represents home and a safe refuge that the family identifies with. When the boys eventually have their own families, they will create their own traditions.

You won’t be reading about how my Christmas holidays went, and I won’t be talking about the trends for 2020 or ranting about influencers anymore as Beautiful Stripes is bidding adieu for good.

When I started the column, the intention was to make it a platform for the latest news, trends and gossip in the beauty industry. It was also about changing mindsets and perceptions as many people see beauty as fluff news, but, in reality, there is actually serious science and research that go into the making of beauty products. There’s also tonnes of money involved and, today, the industry is said to be worth US$532bil (RM2.2tril) and upwards, according to a report by retail analytics Edited.

I confess I may have deviated a little from the column’s original focus, and sneaked in some of my observations on life beyond the confines of skin-deep beauty. It has been an interesting five-year run and, in the process, I’ve tried to liven things up a bit by dropping a thought-provoking or inspiring message along the way.

The world (and social media) is so full of bad news and hostility that I felt compelled to spread some positivity. For those who have enjoyed my column and sent me notes of encouragement, I’m grateful for your support and hope I’ve touched your life in some small way.

It feels final, like the apron strings are being cut for good as, earlier this year, I had already decided to move on after more than two decades of being a full-time journalist, and had been continuing the column under my new “contributor” status.

A stroke of madness, a thirst for new challenges, or perhaps I was just feeling jaded, tired and old; it could have been a sum of all those things but it felt the time was ripe to start a new chapter.

With years still ahead of me, I refuse to acquiesce to the term “retire” so you will still see my byline occasionally, perhaps even more than before as I get back to my first passion – writing stories that matter.

Life is what you make of it, so journey on and keep your spirits up. As it leads up to Christmas Day, be merry and of good cheer, be kind to one another and drink in the joy of the season. To one and all, blessed Christmas!

Patsy Kam is relishing her new role as food explorer and Korean drama addict. You can follow her food jaunts on Share your thoughts on this column at The views expressed here are entirely the writer’s own.

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