【彩神APP8官网下载苹果APP_彩神APP8官网下载苹果APP官网】Feature: Fijians embrace Christmas with families, friends

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SUVA, Dec. 24 (Xinhua) -- Christmas is just around the corner and Fijians have lit up their Christmas trees in their homes and were shopping for food and gifts for their loved ones, as retailers were offering massive sales to attract customers.

Along the streets of Suva, capital of Fiji, choirs were seen singing Christmas carols in the evenings on the week before Christmas Day. Some Fijians traveled abroad or back to their hometown to celebrate Christmas Day with their clan members and extended families.

My Suva Park in the Fijian capital has been lit up and was a popular spot for families as it showcased Christmas lights for the festive season.

Suva City has been packed with Fijians from the rural areas and islands for their Christmas shopping.

Debra Prasad, a local businesswoman who has travelled to Los Angeles with her three daughters, told Xinhua that this was a surprise Christmas gift paid by her siblings and something they looked forward to doing as her parents and other family members lived in the United States.

Leo Nainoka, a member of the Indigenous Terra Madre network and the Social Empowerment and Education (SEEP) community, said Christmas means going to church with members of the family having lunch together and some grog and red wine.

"I don't really believe in the materialistic stuff of the world but visiting unfortunate people and women who have lost their husbands and people living below the poverty line, is what I'll do," he said.

Nasik Swami, a journalist based in Suva, said that he will spend Christmas at home with his parents, families and friends.

"Christmas is usually an expensive affair. We spend 30 Fijian dollars (about 242.3 U.S. dollars) on shopping and I guess this year would be no different. The budget includes shopping for groceries, cakes, juice and the most expensive of all - meat," he said.

Apart from its religious significance, Christmas to the Swami's means a special day for family - a time to spread joy with loved ones, reflect on the past months and to prepare well for the future as a family unit, he said.

Sainiana Radrodro, wife of a Fijian parliamentarian, said that she would spend Christmas with her husband and their children in their village in Serea, Naitasiri, one of the 14 provinces in Fiji.

Radrodro said that their budget would be 30 Fijian dollars (about 242.3 U.S. dollars), the same amount they spent last year.

"Christmas to us is always a time for unity and reconciliation with family and friends we may have wronged. It's also a time we visit those who are less fortunate than us. We like to donate during Christmas to orphans and single parents. We've always done that as a family during this time. That has a separate budget of about 30 Fijian dollars. We will celebrate with about 30 family members as we always do annually in the village," she said.

Consumer Council of Fiji Chief Executive Premila Kumar said that planning was vital during this busy period and impulse buying should never be an option for Fijians.

She said that consumers should look for discounts and bargains offered by the retailers. Unfortunately, Christmas has become typically one of the most financially stressful events in the year.

"The expense of cooking and buying gifts, the pressure of last minute shopping, and the heightened expectations of family togetherness can all combine to undermine best intentions," she said.

Kumar said that most family budgets are stretched very tight during the Christmas and New Year holiday.

"It is a fact that Non-Communicable Diseases are on the rise in Fiji. Families need to make healthy choices when it comes to preparing food for the festivities."

She urged families to shift the focus on healthier options while maintaining the spirit of Christmas.

"Don't spend all your money on one meal and later live on bread and tea. It's better to plan your means during this festival," she said.

Fijian Police have urged members of the public to take great care of their handbags and purses, in the busy shopping period of Christmas.

Suva Retailers Association (SRA) President Vinay Kumar told Xinhua that the Christmas sale began in late November which will run right through to late January 2018.

"Many bigger retailers now publish and distribute shopping catalogues well before Christmas which assists Fijian consumers in making informed decisions. All retailers are now in the Christmas sale mode in the Suva Central Business District (CBD)."

The lights and advertising for Christmas sale is now in full swing in all mediums.

SRA is planning for late night shopping in the Suva CBD and is currently working with stakeholders to get this done.

Many of the retailers in the Suva CBD will also open on Sunday for a few hours to cater for last minute shoppers as Christmas Day falls on a Monday.

"There will an aggressive marketing for Christmas sales on all platforms from the traditional news media to the social media as the days to Christmas break gets closer, we urge the customers to make informed decision when making purchases," said Kumar.

He said that the 2017/18 budget polices of the Fijian government was tricking down especially with the extra disposable income with the increase in the threshold for tax and the increase in civil servant salaries.

"With the festive season in full swing and the schools opening in mid-January 2018 most of the retailers will be busy in the next few weeks catering for their customers," he said.

Kumar said that the retail sector in Fiji had stabilized a couple of months ago and was buoyant right now.

At the same time he urged shoppers to be astute when entering in any hire purchase agreements.