Currently I am sitting in a chair at Willowbrook Mall, in Wayne, New Jersey watching over nine bags of clothes and gifts while my family members continue their Christmas shopping. It’s 10 p.m. on a Tuesday and it seems like the number of people shopping keeps increasing rather than decreasing.
Almost every store I've walked into looks like a mess. There are clothes scattered in different sections, people bumping into each other in the fitting rooms, and a long line at the cashiers.
Is this what Christmas is supposed to be like? What have we turned it into? When I lived in Ecuador the only gifts I received where the ones sent by my parents because my grandparents couldn’t afford to buy us anything. But I didn’t care. This time was supposed to be about spending it with the family and learning about the meaning of what Christmas was about.
In school, each grade had to perform. I remember my third-grade class sang Christmas Carols and then we all received a bag of candy. At home, my family would make a dinner, hang out, and dance while I would enjoy the time to play with my cousins who traveled from Quito, the capital.
Forwarding to 2017 and in the United States, things have changed so much. It almost feels like an obligation to spend money on gifts to show our loved ones how much we appreciate them. I don’t know about you but I don’t agree with this anymore. This isn’t what Christmas should be about and it certainly wasn’t while I was growing up.
I feel obligated to buy people gifts especially when they buy me something. But why do we only use Christmas as a holiday to show this type of appreciation? Growing up the purpose of Christmas, at least from what I was taught was about the birth of baby Jesus.
My family has even forgotten about the nativity scene and although I’m not religious, creating this decoration brought the family together and we learned about the religious aspect of Christmas.
Today I realized how much things have changed. How the purpose of Christmas has been substituted for gifts and spending hundreds of dollars. Am I right or am I wrong? Maybe this doesn’t apply to you but from what I saw today, it seems like my family isn’t the only one who is going crazy over buying gifts.
I personally don't agree with spoiling kids with more than one or two gifts. My little cousins sometimes even build towers and compete with each other because of how many gifts they receive-- and for the next year, they expect even more. We need to stop this. At least this is what I believe.
Maybe you don't agree with me but let me just ask a final question, what does Christmas really mean to you?