WHATEVER HAPPENED TO HOLIDAYS BEING ABOUT FAMILIES AND TRADITION? I am so sad because I feel like Christmas spirit is diminishing due to our own choices. It's Christmas Eve, and I'm sitting here at work thinking about how it doesn't feel like Christmas at all. I realize that whether or not we enjoy the holidays is our own choice, and we've been trying to, but I feel like the outside world is creeping it's way in just a little too much. We've put up a Christmas tree, we listen to Christmas music, we've done Secret Santa gifts for people in our neighborhood and gotten gifts for others... but it still feels like something is lacking...
Christmas (and all other holidays) have gotten so commercialized, it's ridiculous. In fact, to say "Merry Christmas" to someone is no longer politically correct. To avoid offending a stranger we now have to say "Happy Holidays" even though America is traditionally and predominantly a Christian nation. Watching TV makes things worse because of the commercials that seem to just suck the soul right out of the holiday. It's now "Honda Days" instead of the holidays... you get the idea. People are frazzled and frantic to create a Christmas spread for their families and neighbors that is worthy of being in a Martha Stewart magazine. In doing this, people are edgy, overwhelmed, depressed, and completely losing sight of what Christmas is about.
What really gets me is that the holidays are no longer about the holiday itself, but the big day after sales. I think that's what I'm really trying to gripe about here, considering I am the wife of the manager of a retail store. I hardly get to see Brady at all during the month of December, he has to work every single day. He comes home frazzled and hating Christmas because of the overwhelming rudeness of holiday shoppers. What happened to Christmas cheer? The poor man is stretched to his limits, and I've been trying to be patient and supportive, but its rough for both of us. The worst part though was when Brady mentioned that he had to be at work at 6 am the day after Christmas, so we would have to cut short some of our family celebrations on Christmas day. Excuse me? We've spent all of December on the verge of misery, and now we can't even fully enjoy the actual holiday because of the big after Christmas sale???!! What is happening to Christmas?
Thanksgiving is the same way. People have forgotten about the significance of the holiday and the opportunity to spend time with loved ones, and instead focus on the big sales the day after the real event. And now, it's not even the day after... some stores are open on Thanksgiving day!! I remember last year out in Grantsville after Thanksgiving dinner some of the women started looking at the ads to get prepped for the next day, when suddenly one of them discovered that WalMart was opening at 5:00 that night. So half the group jumped up in a frenzy and took off for 4 hours of shopping! Er, Happy Thanksgiving...? Silly me, I assumed that Thanksgiving was about giving thanks, eating a ton, and enjoying the day off to spend with loved ones. I can't help but think about the poor workers who were required to leave their families just so the company could make an extra buck.
So now Christmas is turning in to the same thing. People are so obsessed with the commercial side of things that they lose sight of what the holiday is all about. Christmas should be about our Savior's birth and His great sacrifice and love for each of us. It should be about treating others with that same love and charity, about valuing our families and our friends. It should be about slowing down and enjoying the company of the people we love and the traditions that have been created. Even if you're not religious, Christmas should still be about family and love. It shouldn't be about new cars, GPS systems, new cell phones, power tools, oodles of clothes, or even the perfect over-the-top holiday decorations. The way things are going, Christmas will soon become less of a holiday and more of just an excuse to go in to debt and shop like crazy. Pretty soon it will lose all meaning, with no warm and comforting traditions to create memories that last a lifetime.
So, I realize that by posting a blog that I might not be making much of a difference, but maybe if we can help other people remember what the holidays are about, we might actually start enjoying this time of year again. Let's simplify and cut back on the things that are not necessary. Just a few simple gifts to show our love for others is all we need. What is really necessary is quality time enjoying the people we love without distractions, and to reflect on the birth of our Savior. I hope that each of us can try to find that holiday peace in our hearts and our homes. Christmas spirit is created by the feelings we have, not by the gifts we give.
...ok, I'm now stepping off my soapbox...