We all know the timeless Christmas tune “It’s Beginning to Look a Lot Like Christmas.” We sing the lyrics at the top of our lungs as soon as we sense the first snowfall. And, if you are anything like me, you sing along to it off-key when you think no one is listening. While there is no shame in getting into the Christmas spirit, we should be asking ourselves an important question. Just how can we determine when it is appropriate for it to begin looking a lot like Christmas?
I cannot quite pinpoint when the birth of Jesus turned into a Hallmark Christmas movie ad. As soon as the radio stations start to play the classic Christmas carols we all know and love, everything changes, and not necessarily for the better. With Christmas right around the corner, I could not help but noticed that each year the Christmas season begins earlier. We don’t even flinch when stores bring out candy canes and wreaths right after October 31. It is almost as if Christmas has become its very own season.
From a young age, we learn the true meaning of Christmas but somewhere along the way we have gotten greedy. I, like many others, have an extensive Christmas list filled with the different material items that I would love to have in my possession. While I am aware that these things have no real meaning, I still find myself desperate to have them. It’s not to say that this is completely my fault. Society has had a major impact on how people feel about the holidays.
Each major holiday is accompanied by society telling us what we should want. On Valentine’s Day, it is all about getting your significant other that special 24-carat gold bracelet. Easter is making sure the Easter Bunny has made his rounds. And Christmas is about finding the right gifts and outdoing the neighbors’ lights display.
People say the holidays are about spending time with family but, in reality, the holidays have become much more commercialized. If you were to turn on your TV right now, the only thing you would see would be Christmas commercials. Though it is healthy to want material goods, it is important to know that they will not truly satisfy you. I don’t want to sound like I am preaching to the choir, but if we take a moment to look around, we can see just how commercial this holiday has become.
Two weeks ago, we were celebrating Thanksgiving, one of the most popular family holidays. However, because of the Christmas craze, Thanksgiving is not always about family anymore. Now that Black Friday, the day after Thanksgiving, is known as the beginning of the Christmas shopping season, people completely overlook Thanksgiving. Employees are being forced to leave their families in order to work through the holiday.
Lines for Black Friday start forming earlier each year. Certain malls and shopping centers opened their doors at 8 p.m. Thanksgiving Day and did not close them until Friday at 8 p.m. This was all to allow shoppers time to hunt for those amazing Black Friday deals which in all likelihood will still be there until the stores close on Christmas Eve.
Though shopping has a lot to do with Christmas being overly commercialized, it is sadly not the only thing that contributes to it. In this day and age, we have access to more information at the touch of a button. Social media sites such as Facebook and Pinterest add fuel to the fire. Having the world able to see the many things you post, people tend to develop a competitive side, adding even more pressure. Christmas parties have to be more extravagant than the next, your snowman-shaped sugar cookies must be more appealing than your friend’s and gifts should be wrapped more perfectly than your sibling’s.
I understand the excitement that comes along with the Christmas holiday, but it is much too easy to get carried away. Christmas is only a short two weeks away, and focusing on the shallow matters is a way to lose the real meaning of the holiday. While it is wonderful to give gifts to friends, relatives and co-workers, we should all take time in this busy holiday season to remember that the greatest gift of all is the one that God gave to all of mankind.