I once loved this holiday. I still do, in fact. The reason for the warm feelings comes from the temporal significance the holiday season carries.
Every year, like clockwork, old decorations are restored to their places, familiar treats warm our bellies, and music older than most of us fills our ears. Christmas lives off of the nostalgia it brings. That nostalgia cements within us our sharpest memories. Because of that, the day will always carry special significance to me.
They may not always be great, but, of those 24 Christmases I’ve experienced, I remember nearly all of them. So as this 25th Christmas descends upon us, I am both excited and stricken.
I cannot help but feel conflicted with all of Christmas’ rituals. Growing up in these times means an absolute inability to ignore how consumption is driving our planet to its very limits.
This is the greatest tragedy of Christmas. A holiday meant to reunite families and to celebrate the great spirit of adversity, spiritual triumphs and love above all is stained by the need to buy new things.
One stark memory that replays itself every Christmas is the trash bins lining the streets of my neighborhood. Each one overflows with the discarded remnants of Christmas mornings. It hurts to think about and to anticipate witnessing it yet again on this last Christmas of the decade.
In place of love, faith, gratitude for the year’s blessings stands instead materialism, envy, the need to show off. My only solace is that our generation asks more so for experiential gifts than ones of material value. This is a nice change.
As a person once engrossed with the consumerist culture surrounding Christmas, it’s hard for me to preach against it. I can’t, to be honest. As much as I wish to be an advocate for a greater treatment of our home, I am still a guilty party.
The one thing I can do is better myself at this. I can also rewrite the definition of this holiday to be more reflective of its true intention.
As I sit here writing this on a balmy winter day in December, remembering the white snow that once fell, I give thanks for the memories I have surrounding this holiday. I give thanks for the memories to come.
I give thanks for the love that surrounds me and I discard the need to fill Christmas with the meaninglessness of exchanging things no one needs. To give gifts is a great thing. To give meaningful ones is even better.
I hope to do that. I do.
Merry Christmas, everyone.