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Posts tagged ‘Commercialism at Christmas’

You Can’t Buy Christmas!

NOTE:  This is a post for those of my readers who celebrate Christmas!  For everyone else, “Happy Holidays!” 

You Can’t Buy Christmas!

I love Christmas.  The joy, the wonder, the fun of the season.  Putting out the decorations. Practicing family traditions. Singing Christmas carols. Attending a candlelight service. Spending time with family and friends. Wishing for peace for one and all.  Telling all my friends—regardless of their faith—“Happy Holidays!”

But I am weary too. 

Advertising has been attacking on all levels—mail, online, radio, television—since October.  Crazy sales encourage people to buy more, spend more.  Shopping seems to overtake the lives of so many, especially since Black Friday and the all-hours-special-deals that continue on, every day.  Many are buying gifts because they feel obligated, not to show their care for those special to them.  Christmas carols blare from speakers everywhere, and some radio stations are reaching the stage where some play holiday tunes 24 hours a day.  Christmas movies lose something when they are played over and over and over again for weeks and weeks before the holiday.  All this hectic commotion inevitably triggers editorials and news stories complaining that people are saying “Season’s Greetings!” instead of “Merry Christmas!” Others complain that some government officials put up a holiday tree, not a Christmas tree.

Somehow, I do not think God really cares what seasonal greeting we utter, if it comes from the heart with the true intention of sharing the love, hope, and seasonal lessons of tolerance.  I also bet He is rather dismayed by the onslaught of commercials and sales that seem to bring out the worst in people.  How can all that hawking of the season be celebrating Christmas?  Instead, all this focus on commercialism is overwhelming.  For me, it undermines the true meaning of Christmas as it seems to forget the wonder, joy and fun of the season.

Two years ago, Pope Benedict lamented the loss of the Christmas Spirit as well:  “Today Christmas has become a commercial celebration, whose bright lights hide the mystery of God’s humility. . . . Let us ask the Lord to help us see through the superficial glitter of this season, and to discover behind it the child in the stable in Bethlehem, so as to find true joy and true light. . . . Let us strip away our fixation on what is material, on what can be measured and grasped.”

Now, don’t get me wrong.  I really love Christmas.  I give presents and watch the same special movies every year.  I hold an Open House and enjoy seeing family and friends to celebrate the season.  I don’t bake, but I love that my sister does.  I do have special goodies that are part the annual celebration—and I eat too much.  I love when I find the right gift for someone special.  I hum Christmas songs throughout the day—and read special Christmas stories at night.  Some years I even send Christmas cards.

Merry Christmas

But I also need to remind myself each year to slow down, to focus on the message of the season not the trappings, and to really appreciate the Christmas lessons of love and hope.  I need to re-learn each year the lesson Grinch stumbles upon at the end of his story:  “Christmas doesn’t come from a store. Maybe Christmas perhaps means a little bit more.”

So, right now, with a little more than a week until Christmas, my gift to you is a reminder to slow down and enjoy the holiday.  Hug those you love—and tell them you love them.  Put more time into being with your family than in shopping for them.  Have fun.  Marvel at the promise of the season.  Really celebrating Christmas is the best gift of all.

This first video can be reached via the following link.  It is really fun–these kids will help you remember the fun of the season.    A Great Lip Syncing Performance


Ready for Christmas?

I drove down to see my dad last weekend and was pleasantly surprised that traffic was not too bad.  Except when I went by the shopping malls.  Then the freeway exits were backed up for a mile and all the lanes around the actual mall entrances were so crowded that I sat through some lights three times!  Crazy!  I stopped going to malls quite a few years ago.  (Don’t get me wrong:  I am a good American.  I spend more than I should, but I do it online or through catalogs.)

It is now a week before Christmas, and I can only imagine that many are still rushing and running trying to be prepared.  Is the tree up and decorated?  Presents bought and wrapped? Meals planned and goodies baked?  Parties attended—or planned for family, friends, and the extra guests that seem to materialize every year?  Kids get over tired and crabby—and excited making it even harder to sleep.  Parents get over extended too with little sleep and too much to do.

Christmas is such a wondrous time of year, full of love, hope and celebration.  It reminds us of what is best in the world and gives us a chance to keep traditions and build memories.  But making it through all the hustle and bustle to get to Christmas Day can be a daunting task.  Several things can help us survive all the festivities:

To laugh at the commercialism we subject ourselves too, as noted in this variation of a classic: “The Twelve Pains of Christmas.” Laughing at ourselves can help us get through almost anything.

To remember kids are kids, and it is not always easy to be good—even if a Shelf Elf is watching.  One of my favorite carols of the season is “I’m Getting Nuttin’ for Christmas.”  I first heard this tune as a kid and now have a stuffed animal I haul out each year that plays this song when you press its foot!  Being a little naughty isn’t really so bad, is it?

And the most obvious:  Remember the real reason for the season!  This clip from “A Charlie Brown Christmas” says it all.  About 2.5 minutes in, Linus explains what Christmas is all about!  I read somewhere that initially the networks did not want the scriptures to be quoted in this television special but Shultz insisted!  Thank goodness.  In this clip, Charlie Brown eventually asserts, “I won’t let all this commercialism ruin my Christmas!”  That’s what we all need to do.

So, slow down.  Drink some hot chocolate or eggnog.  Sing some Christmas hymns.  Hug family and friends.  Give of your time to those you love.  Read the Bible.  And truly enjoy the season!  To help with the celebration, here is a video to enjoy of a Christmas Flash Mob—thanks to my cousin Rick for sharing it with me so I could share it with you.

HO! HO! HO!  Merry Christmas!

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