I love the classic holiday commercials like the advertisement for Eat n’ Park. A star trying to reach the top of a tree and the tree helping it to it’s proper place as the topper. It’s heartfelt and reminds me about the importance of giving during the holiday season.
Christmas is the time of year for family & friends, giving, and joy; decorating the Christmas tree, stringing lights on the porch & windows. We drink egg nog, hot chocolate with marshmallows & wassail; giving & opening presents, Christmas cards, and snuggling under a blanket watching holiday movies. Some of us attend Christmas services at church, playing in the snow, and one of my favs, the annual ugly sweater party.
When I think of Christmas I think of all these things, but it is also the time of year when you sit in traffic for hours, parking spaces are stolen, and theft is on an all time high.
Many of us spend more than we have. Bills go unpaid, and greed, guilt, ungratefulness, jealousy & envy are feelings that seem inevitable without a sizebale income to buy, buy, buy.
Another Commercial Christmas 🎄
While watching TV, I came across my favorite Christmas movie, ACharlie Brown Christmas. During the commercial break, I noticed that every holiday advertisement depicted an image of Christmas that is the complete opposite of what Linus was trying to share in the movie.
Linus Van Pelt: [after Linus and Charlie Brown discover the little tree] Gee, do they still make wooden Christmas trees?
Charlie Brown: This little green one here seems to need a home.
Linus Van Pelt: I don’t know, Charlie Brown. Remember what Lucy said? This doesn’t seem to fit the modern spirit.
Charlie Brown: I don’t care. We’ll decorate it and it’ll be just right for our play. Besides, I think it needs me.
[picks up tree; a lot of needles fall off]
When I was a child, I had no idea what my parents went through to make sure we had a “good” Christmas. Shopping on Black Friday, the day after Thanksgiving (after you just spent your bill money on the biggest dinner of the year), buying wrapping paper, bows, & ribbon; baking cookies for Santa Claus, wrapping gifts until 2 in the morning, and getting up at 6:00a to cook us breakfast.
I have wonderful holiday memories of Christmas time with my family, but now that I am single-mother, it became more difficult to ignore the greed, guilt, ungratefulness, envy that I felt every year. I don’t want that for my daughter.
Greed: Every year, I hoped I would get certain presents.
Guilt: If I didn’t not have the money ti buy my family and friends the gifts they wanted, I would feel bad because I didn’t have enough money.
Ungratefulness: When I didn’t get the presents that I wanted when I was kid made me feel upset.
Jealousy & Envy: When my friends got more gifts than I did.
Lucy Van Pelt: “I know how you feel about all this Christmas business, getting depressed and all that. It happens to me every year. I never get what I really want. I always get a lot of stupid toys or a bicycle or clothes or something like that.”
Keeping up with Christmas
The commercialism of many Christmas traditions and the media have made it so hard to keep up with the holidays without feeling less than. We have allowed ourselves to just go-with-the-flow and do what the media tells us we should do when it comes to celebrating Christmas.
Even those who believe that Christmas is about celebrating the birth of Jesus Christ have adapted these commercial traditions, and I do not think that God is pleased with the way we choose to celebrate:
The extra spending that we don’t have, and I know God is not pleased with the greed, guilt, ungratefulness, jealousy and envy that many of us experience during the holiday season. This I know is definitely not what Christmas is about.
Every story in the Bible speaks about how Jesus gave to the needy, the poor, the less fortunate, and the sick. I have yet to read a single verse in the Bible about lights, Christmas trees, decorations, and over consumption.
Buying more, spending, and over-consumption have become the norm during the Christmas season. It causes heightened stress to those who are not financially stable because we are all just trying to keep up.
The Meaning of Christmas
This is my daughters second Christmas, and I decided like last year that I am not buying a tree, ornaments, lights, wreaths, wrapping paper, bows, ribbons, gift bags, and un-needed toys, clothing and shoes. I don’t want my daughter to think that this is what Christmas is about.
I got my immediate family each one gift and that’s it. It’s not about the fact that I am limited in funds, I just refuse to be stressed about a man-made holiday, no matter what meaning is behind it. And sadly, I srill feel guilty about not participating in the commercialism because everyone around me makes it seem like the decorations and a Christmas tree are requirements:
“you are not gonna get your baby a tree?”
“it’s Christmas! She deserves some decorations!”
“so how does the baby like her tree?”
“you are not getting the baby any gifts?”
t in a comfortable financial situation. Many of us spend regardless, but spending the money that should be allowed for my bills, on Christmas presents, is not for me. I am not trying to have a “good” commercial Christmas is just not me.
The pressure is not fair. My daughter has everything she needs; food, clothing and shoes, a bed to sleep in, heat, water, and right now that is all we need to have a Merry Christmas.
Charlie Brown: Isn’t there anyone who knows what Christmas is all about?
Linus Van Pelt: Sure, Charlie Brown, I can tell you what Christmas is all about.
[moves toward the center of the stage]
Linus Van Pelt: Lights, please.
[a spotlight shines on Linus]
Linus Van Pelt: “And there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night. And lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them, and the glory of the Lord shone round about them: and they were sore afraid. And the angel said unto them, ‘Fear not:”
[Linus drops his security blanket on purpose]
Linus Van Pelt: “for behold, I bring unto you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people. For unto you is born this day in the City of David a Savior, which is Christ the Lord. And this shall be a sign unto you; Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger.’ And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host, praising God, and saying, ‘Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men.'”
[Luke 2:8-14 KJV]
All I Need for Christmas
The simple things; spending time with my family, laughter, love, and peace, these are all I need for Christmas. I refuse to allow my Christmas to mean spending my last dime, and if I had the money, I wouldn’t want to be over-spending just to keep up with commercialism.
Watching A Charlie Brown Christmas reminded me to look past what I don’t have and focus on what is important, family, friends and a giving spirit.