I wish I could say I remembered a time in my life where Christmas was not about getting the best gifts, or finding that perfect item on sale. I wish that I could look at the world around me and know that we would all find the same joy in Christmas if we did not depend on this idea of giving materialistic items during the holiday season. And, yes, I am just as guilty of that as the next person, but I am trying to do something different: I am trying to acknowledge it.
Last year, I wrote an article titled “The True Meaning of Christmas.” And I honestly wish that more people had read it.
When I wrote that article, I was trying to tell the world something I think it should know. I was trying to tell the world that what matters more than anything else is the people you have by your side during the season. Sure, I love getting cool presents and opening them, but if I were to not get any I think I would be OK.
I think that our society has an addiction to material items. We want the next pair of Nike sneakers, the upgraded cell phone and the fancy Macbook. We want the beautiful jewelry and the nice camera (which, yes, I do). We are constantly talking about all of the things that we want, but do we talk about what we want to give in return? Most of the time, I do not think we give anything.
I am the first to admit that I do not buy a lot of Christmas presents often. First it was because I was too young to have any money of my own, but now it is because I am in college and, if we are really honest, it is hard to have the funds to do so. It is not that I do not care about the people around me, in fact, I try my best to make sure they know they are loved and that I appreciate them. For me, Christmas is about being with those people and just making sure that they know how much you adore and value them.
During the holiday season, I find that it is more important to smile at people as they rush past you. I think it is more important to slow down when you are somewhere and just take everything in.
We sing carols that echo our wishes of having joy in this world. Someone who may not like this holiday very much might say, “Y’know, joy to the world and all that.” If I am honest, I have never actually heard anyone say that, but I figure someone is thinking it somewhere.
We talk about peace on earth and how much we love how this holiday makes us feel. How is that though? How does this holiday really make us feel?
Instead of appreciating what Christmas is meant for--celebrating the birth of Jesus and bringing love to everyone--we run around like a bunch of scared children acting like we have something to prove by purchasing the best gifts we can.
During this time of year we spend most of our time stressed out. And it is not even just in December. People stress about Christmas the second Christmas is over. It is a clock and a countdown that restarts the moment presents are already opened.
We need to enjoy it while it is here, and then take a moment to breathe. Instead of running out to spend the money you were just given (whether on a gift card or in cash) smile and say thank you, then put it away for a little bit. Do not speed away the next day to go shopping (no matter how tempting).
I guess I just want everyone to remember that it is OK to not get the big ticket item this year--or any year. It is OK to donate some extra money to a charity, or to your church, during this time of year.
Remind people that this holiday, Christmas, is meant to spend time with family and friends and tell them how much you love them. Remind them that there is a joy and spirit in the air because of love--not because of the items that may or may not be on sale.
And finally, Merry Christmas to you all.