REVISED MARCH 20, 2011:
Christmas is a time for indulging in drinking eggnog, decorating the tree, singing carols around the piano as the aroma of apple cider and Christmas spirit fills the air. This is an example of my ideal Christmas. My father made it very clear to all not to overindulge his children with presents. He was afraid we would fail to understand and be grateful about the true concept of the holiday spirit so this was his way of reinforcing those values.
I think it's a good idea for one to surround themselves with Christmas decorations, music and movies, I cannot count the number of times I have watched a Christmas Carol, the Grinch Who Stole Christmas and my ultimate favorite "White Christmas. My idea of the Christmas holidays is to have family and friends gather to feast on food, drink and be merry. This is my idea of bringing in the holiday spirit and celebrating the true meaning of what the Christmas spirit means to me.
Why has Christmas become so commercialized? I believe Christmas has become diluted with the concept of "gift giving" It's obviously an exiting part of the festivities to give your children or someone special a surprise. However, the "gift giving" concept has become too commercialized and I have become to despise the very fact of what the holiday season has become. It has become consumed with materialism.
Moreover, people feel obligated to give gifts sometimes there's no meaning behind it, we give because we're visiting someone or have to bring a gift or someone gives you a gift so you have to give them something back. This shouldn't be an obligation to give gifts and people should be respectful for those who choose not to participate in this process. The next paragraph illustrates an actual scenario to substantiate the above argument.
"Each year its tradition to spend Christmas with my spouse's family, which I enjoy tremendously until the families, get together and exchange gifts for everyone. I feel inadequate as a result or made to feel this way because I choose not to participate in this show. There is such a big kafuffle about who got what and how nice something was but the truth, the significant part of the day is swallowed up by the need of gift giving and the concept behind Christmas is lost, drowned with materialism. In the past I have allowed it to spoil my favorite holiday of all times, however, I have made the choice each holiday season not to over indulge or dilute the concept of Christmas by stating to others that I do not believe in "gift giving."
If someone reading this article disagrees, this is your right to exercise, for me I will ask one question, if the overall concept of gifts are not important, then why not express sincerely to people not to buy anything. Most of us are caught up in this process and believe gifts represents the joy and spirit of Christmas, which its not. How can you change an idea when it's so deeply ingrained into our sub-culture and belief system? The answer, is it's difficult to change an idea. The negative aspect of this paradigm is that the younger generation is pressured to feel they have to purchase expensive gifts and in fact spend money they don't have in order to experience the holiday. The next paragraph illustrates another actual scenario to substantiate the above argument.
"During the mid eighties my niece who on every Christmas would receive 50 presents, which included immediate and extended relatives and friends. On one particular Christmas, my older niece and family celebrated that day with us. During the opening of the presents; my older niece opened her two presents, as she looked across the room at my younger niece who were opening her 50 presents. My older niece began to cry, we were surprised, by this behavior. Her mother asked what was wrong? She didn't hesitate to say she was upset that she received only two presents." The word "only two" struck me and I realized at that time how consumed we were with the concept of gifts and reinforcing it was such an integral aspect of what Christmas really is. What an example how our children can become affected by the avarice of material ware.
Christmas has in fact become diluted and commercialized. We are continuously caught up in the cycle of consumerism and believe it necessary to buy gifts in order to feel good and express the spirit of the holiday. The long line-ups at the mall for the special toy or thing, people become stressed, anxious and upset, and I ask myself, why? It's because society continues to place the pressures on what we want, not need and therefore, we have to always have more. Instead, we should be giving more to people who are unable to experience the holiday as we have. Why not bake something or make a home made present to give rather than taking out a loan or increasing the credit on the credit card in order to purchase the latest toy or thing.
Moreover, it raises the question of religious faiths, even though Dec 25th is not the official birth of Christ, but Christmas is a time for celebration with family and friends. The most profound of the Christian doctrine is for us to celebrate and give to those who are less fortunate.
I understand this concept in terms of socialization and economics, the great need for people to consume more than they can afford and those of us who add more to what they already have. This overabundance and indulgence increases the capacity of landfills and contribute to further depletion of resources from the planet. Society continues to want more and why such a glorious day for many has become so disdained with the smell of materialism.
Hence, my idea of Christmas and trying to make it less commercialized, Christmas is a significant part of living and celebrating the way you choose to. Food is used as a symbol in many culture as a gift given to to share with others and why one of the main reasons we did what we did every year, was feeding the poor.
It's also one of the reasons for me, why Christmas spirit is sharing drink, food with family and friends and the best part is knowing we are thankful for the food and drink not only on Christmas but on a daily basis. I had almost forgotten but I am thankful for the values that lie deep seated in me and the people who gave them to me.