For me, Christmas morning is a warm memory filled with hot coffee and candies, homemade omelets, our traditional afternoon movie viewing and a day spent making memories with my family. My family is small and is fortunate enough to be able to afford purchasing numerous gifts for one another but we don’t focus on what is given or received. These are fun traditions, but our society capitalizes on these traditions and has created a monster in the holiday giving season. In fact, for many companies, the time between Black Friday and Christmas Day can make or break annual sales. Such greed and commercialism is unhealthy for our society and for us as individuals. Tis’ the season to be jolly, but only if you are prepared to endure unnecessary stress.
As is common for many kids, I was anxious to see what gifts I’d get under the tree from Mom, Dad, and Santa. I was always pleasantly surprised with what I was given but I didn’t think about the hard work that it took to make the money used to buy the items that were purchased for me. Unfortunately, generally speaking, the American society holds a similarly immature stance on Christmas giving because it’s driven by corporate commercialism and greed. The stress of having enough money for Christmas as well as finding the perfect gift creates an unhealthy environment and continues to feed and breed the sick beast of commercialism on our society.
Americans buy numerous gifts, often risking financial disparity, but are primarily focused on what they will receive. Often times, Black Friday sales awaken consumers at 1 or 2AM to ensure they arrive in time for the newest gadgets and big ticket items. This year, some stores have even pushed the sales back to Thanksgiving Day. Without successful purchases, a greed-driven feeling of disappointment sets in, making the consumer feel mad and frustrated at the fact that someone else got what they wanted. Forget the sentimental gifts; if it’s not an i-gadget, Blu-Ray, or some sort of shiny bling, it’s not worth buying, giving, or getting. Shopping isn't fun. Being broke isn't fun. Christmas isn't’ fun anymore, and Santa had better get a part-time job.
Sure it sounds cliche, but Christmas shouldn't be centered on materialism. The true meaning of Christmas couldn’t be further from that concept. Some families choose to limit gift giving to a dollar amount or gift cards. Others ask relatives to donate the money that would have been spent on a gift to a charity of choice. Either way, the focus of society must become more directed on loving one another in order to genuinely celebrate Christmas. The shift in focus from greed and money to giving out of Love, valuing the another person’s wants more than your own, and extending yourself to touch the lives of others, will help us all have a very happy holiday season.
*Image courtesy Flickr creative commons.