When I was kid, Christmas was my favorite. I looked forward to it all year long. Christmas Eve was spent at Grandma’s house, and you could always count on a few things:
A.) Grandma’s really long slide shows. I secretly loved them, but would moan and complain about them to be cool like my sister. Oh, and watching the eventual nodding-off of my Grandpa in his chair and waiting for his own lion-esque snores to jar him awake in the middle of “The Ohio” leg of the show…
B.) My Uncle would always have on some ridiculous outfit. And I don’t mean a Santa suit either. I’m talking about cream colored jeans, and a lime green turtle-neck. Together. Yikes.
C.) Getting an awesome homemade “mix-video” of my favorite insert boy band for the year here, lovingly wrapped in the comic section from my other, cooler Uncle.
But lately, I have really found myself almost dreading the holiday season. I can’t even make it to Halloween without seeing Christmas decorations at the local drugstore. And every other commercial is about the next doohicky or big sale to stock up on more stuff. What’s wrong with this picture? The time that used to emphasize good food, family, bad sweaters and tacky holiday movies has become the season of perpetual stuff and the debt created by it all.
The average American family will spend $1300 on Christmas gifts this year. In case you missed that, that was thirteen HUNDRED dollars. Remember that the average income World wide is only $7,000? So we (no, I’m sorry, that would be you) are spending nearly twenty percent of what the average world citizen makes in a year. Double yikes, with a side of shock.
So why do we spend all that? Why do we HAVE to buy Uncle Bob that electric nose hair clipper for Christmas? I’m pretty sure that he would have picked one up himself if he were really that concerned about it. Is it just me? Am I alone in these wild thoughts?
Remember, I have three children. My children deserve everything they want…but what kind of people am I raising by showering them with every last thing they could ever want whether they knew they wanted it or not? Am I fulfilling their need for stuff? Or am I fulfilling my personal need to feel like I love them the most by giving them everything? Are we giving out of love? Or do we give to prove that we have the money (credit) to give? Do we really feel like without, they will never know how much they mean to us? “I really enjoy having you in my life, and I would like to prove it to you with this five gallon drum of popcorn.”
Even if you don’t celebrate Christmas for the birth of Jesus, it’s still about remembering what is important in this life: the good people that give us a hand when we need it, entertain us when we are bored, and are just all around good people to have and love all year round.
This year, let’s make it a celebration of appreciation for our loved and loving family and friends, rather than our love of corporations, their stuff, and the banks that loan the money to make it all possible.