Friday, December 28, 2007


I see Christmas as two holidays:

The celebration of the birth of the Child is one holiday.

The feasting, gift giving, and decorating are another secular (pagan) holiday (of which I know the ancient pagan influence), not unlike Thanksgiving or Valentine's Day.

Every year I reflect on that. I celebrate both Christmases, but it's not my favorite time of year, and every year, I'm glad when it's over. But I do enjoy giving gifts to others, and I enjoy being with family, 'cause let's face it, most families only get together nowadays for holidays, when they have days off from work, and funerals. I've decided that for me, secular Christmas is about nostalgia and family. I don't object to presents, because despite some of the entitlement to gifts people feel, you can get around it by choosing how much you want to participate in gift giving. If people have issues with that, shame on them. I don't give presents to other folks' kids at Christmas. In my eyes, it's up to the parents to spoil their children if they want. I don't want any part of that. When I give gifts, it's usually for birthdays, and it's often books.

I think that with my own children, I will make efforts to somehow separate the celebration of the Child from the pagan holiday, so that they will understand and attach importance to the difference. I would like for them to be knowledgeable about my faith. But I want them to participate in the other Christmas - the food and family part - because that means so much to me. Spoiling will NOT occur. Period. And I think that parents are to blame when their children are materialistic, because it's their job to guide their children so that American materialistic culture doesn't program their kids into a sense of entitlement. Once upon a time, kids received oranges and little cakes and clothes and stuff for Christmas. I'm not giving my kids that stuff, but if I'm going to give them nice presents, why does Christmas have to be "jackpot day?" There are 364 other days in the year. And why does it have to be for the most expensive stuff - stuff many people will be paying for until next August? I think it sends the wrong message to the kids.

Christmas is not the most holy and meaningful time of the year for Christians though - Easter is. I feel much of folks' frustration with secular trumping the sacred even stronger when Easter bunnies and Easter baskets and new clothes become the focus. It's a mix of the celebration of the spring equinox and the resurrection of Christ, and it's disgusting to me to see the focus get lost every year. I don't celebrate Spring at Easter time - to me, that time is about faith alone. I can celebrate spring all the other weeks - why should it be all on top of the most Holy time of the year for my faith?