Consuming Christmas: Consumerism vs. Christianity

As I’ve grown and seen more of the world, I’ve kind of started to hate Christmas.

No, no, not the family celebration, not the traditions, and not the religious aspect. Just the overpowering sensationalization and product-driven bloated cheap attempt to siphon all your money away.

It seems as though we in America have turned Christmas into a cardboard cutout. It depicts something real or something once real, but not is simply a poor lifeless substitute. What’s more, like a cardboard cutout, it costs way too much for the pittance it offers in return. In a manner, Black Friday is the corporate version of Thanksgiving. It just falls a little after. A perversion of the message, as it were.

The message of Thanksgiving is, “Be thankful for what you have”.

Black Friday’s message is “Trample ’em if you have to, we’re getting whatever that is on sale!”

Likewise, Christmas, in its religious sense, is about the birth of Jesus; who, among other things, taught of the dangers of valuing material wealth over others and over God. So, what is the corporate perversion of Christmas? It goes by the same name, but preaches of the need for status symbols and accessories and spending shocking amounts of money at large businesses. Y’know, like Jesus taught.

So, if this is what the corporate propaganda on Christmas looks like, what does Christmas look like if you strip it of the chains of consumerism? It appears initially fairly plain. A birth in a barn, some unexpected gift-givers, and a handful of barn animals. Without the financial fervor, the holiday really boils down to a religious memorial and an opportunity to show each other some kindness. The gifts needn’t be as opulent as gold and myrrh and all. Remember, they were kings. Proportionately, their gifts were most likely pretty reasonable for their net worth, right? So don’t feel the need to break the bank on Christmas gifts. However, do remember why you’re giving.

Even if you aren’t religious, consider the circumstances surrounding the gift-giving for a moment. Three wealthy people recognized that a poor person was worth more than meets the eye. That’s a message worth hearing. Not only does it encourage crossing the class barrier for the sake of helping others, but also being able to recognize the worth of someone past what only eyes can tell. Religious or otherwise, this is worth a look. I guarantee it’s more valuable than the corporate knock-off.

Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukkah, and Happy Holidays, you mindlessly brilliant rabble.

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