Every Christmas season I find myself getting angrier than I normally do. For some reason, come December I have stronger opinions and want to share them a little louder and more forceful. There are lots of things that drive me crazy about the whole ordeal. It’s not so much Christmas and what it’s supposed to be that I hate. I love getting together with my family. I love eating with people. I even love giving gifts. I love Jesus and I love the story of when he came to earth. I love celebrating these things with the people I love.
Let’s be honest though, Christmas in reality is none of those things anymore. Christmas is first and foremost a time to shop. We love the sales, the discounts and the rush that we get of buying something new of loading our wallets full of receipts and emptying our bank accounts. We love Boxing Day and all the more stuff we can buy for ourselves on sale. We love it so much that we stress ourselves out because we have to make sure that we have gifts for everyone and that no one is left out. Sometimes we have to make sure that our gifts are better than everyone else’s. Other times we just are in the habit of giving something so we wouldn’t imagine not buying them anything this year. This is I think the worst part of Christmas; giving out of guilt or meaningless routine.
We all know what happens, all of sudden we get envelopes of gift cards and cash from all the people you would never expect a gift from in the first place. Gift cards are a win (buyer) win (receiver) win (business) situation. It’s the easiest gift going, and everyone loves getting them because then they don’t get stuck with crappy gifts. Businesses love them even more because well a lot of gift cards don’t get redeemed. Our horrible habits of having to buy people anything, and then resorting to gift cards, ends up just giving these companies free money.
Christmas today is nothing more than another outlet to buy more shit and settle our conscience and give us an excuse to do what we love to do all year. The presents, the decorations, the gift cards; it’s all part of the same cycle that demands we participate in fear that we will lose what Christmas is all about. The looks on people’s faces would be priceless if you tried to do Christmas today without presents. Presents (ie. Stuff) is so intricately tied into everything we do that we would get offended if you tried to separate them.
Christmas isn’t Christmas anymore and that’s why I hate it. I have to learn to not just be a hater and sit back and moan and complain, but instead be proactive in how I handle my Christmas season. Every year Rachel and I make gifts for each other, we aren’t allowed to buy each other things. The last few years I’ve been buying people in Africa turkeys and chickens so they can sustain their families, instead of giving my family anything. Other people have responded differently. There is Buy Nothing Christmas alternatives. There is Buy Something Christmas. You can buy stuff for families who are in need.
Sometimes I wonder if I should do anything with the gifts/money that is given to me for Christmas. After all it really is easy to just not give anything and receive away with open arms. What if I took all the money and gifts I was given for Christmas and turned around and gave it away to someone else? Would that work or be a valid alternative? I see that offending a lot of people, but it might help get across the message that I really don’t want/need anything and might help people for thinking about what they do with their resources for upcoming holidays. Any thoughts on that one?
The point is to just not be another clueless consumer who buys out of guilt or necessity for no other reason than because it’s Christmas and that’s just what you do. We don’t need to buy more and for the most part the people that we buy for don’t need anything else. I like where Jordon is coming from, “Don’t “buy nothing” this Christmas but use some of your wealth to make a real difference in someone’s life.” I love the idea of Buy Nothing Christmas also as a discipline to break the cycle that is present in most of our lives. Make it a Do Something Christmas instead of just another Do What I’ve Always Done and Buy Anything Christmas. Do something to break the cycle, do something to actually help someone else, do something for Jesus this Christmas, after all it is supposed to be his birthday.
Posts from 2005
Happy Holidays, Merry Christmas, Happy Return of the Sun
Post from 2004
My Christmas became X’mas