Wednesday, December 23, 2009


Some people think that Christmas is overrated.  That's it's nothing but a meaningless commercialized, materialistic money grab that has lost all of it's real symbolic juice.  These people are incredibly adamant that those who do dive whole hog into Christmas are foolish, naive people who are tricking themselves.  I heard a kitchen conversation at work the other day and it made me wonder about how I really felt about Christmas.  It took a while, but I think I know:

'The Christmas Season' is commercialized and materialistic, but it doesn't spoil what Christmas is really all about.  The symbolism of Christmas is, to me, what is really important...the part of the year where you unselfishly give to people just to see the smile on their face, a time when you spend time with friends and family and reminisce on the year that was, and a time when you celebrate what's really important in life.  Sure you can get carried away buying crap that nobody needs because it's ON SALE!!!, but it doesn't just automatically signify a 'cheapening of the holiday', because the whole gift thing is just a small part of what makes it so great.

I love this season because my Dad loved this season.  A guy who otherwise was quiet and pretty reserved went absolutely all out when it came to Christmas.  A guy who really didn't like shopping could be found trolling the malls right up until the night before Christmas.  A guy who wasn't really into embellishment would go to great lengths to professionally wrap all his gifts to me and my Mom, no matter how gigantic or oddly shaped.  He also made sure to sign the 'from' section on each and every one of the gifts with something ridiculous like 'Santa', or 'Rudolph', or 'The Elves', and he filled the stockings up with more gifts than most people got presents.  It was about giving.

I love this season because it's about traditions.  It's about the times that define your family.  It's about times like going out with your father to buy a Christmas tree, and remembering the first year your dad let you 'help him' carry the tree in, and you were strong enough to carry it in by yourself.  It's about putting all the ornaments that you had accumulated through the years on the tree, stopping to remember how you got that one, or who made this one for you.  It's about sitting down and playing the same record you play every year, and having the same special breakfast, that you HAD to eat before you could open presents.  These are the kind of times that define families, and Christmas is about the biggest one for a lot of those families.

It was about one special time in the year when no matter what else was going on, everything was perfect, everyone was happy, and everyone knew how much everyone else in the room loved them.  It was special, it stuck with me, and I already do the same thing.  I love Christmas.  I love that people drive around in cheesy Santa hats.  I love giving the bell ringer $20.  I love thinking back on all the special Christmas seasons that I spent with my family, and that I can barely remember any of the gifts that I got, but I can certainly remember how I knew how much I was loved.

So yeah, Christmas isn't necessarily about buying stuff.  It's about choosing your own way to express your love for the people around you.  If that means you buy some stuff, then hey, why not.  It's your money.  It doesn't cheapen the season to me.  Just make sure everyone you love knows that you love them.  That's what it's all about to me.
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