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Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Gift-giving has gotten out of hand

Posted Wednesday, December 3, 2008, at 1:18 PM

Christmas is a Christian holiday to celebrate the birth of Jesus. The gift-giving tradition started with the Gifts of the Magi -- the three kings bearing gifts who traveled from afar to give presents to Jesus.

Over the centuries, I think the tradition got out-of-hand. Today people think Christmas just isn't Christmas without a big pile of presents under the tree. We've been urged on to buy more and more by the constant stream of advertising by retailers -- to me it all seems a bit disrespectful of a Christian holy day. Even people who are not Christians, or who don't do anything special to mark any of the other Christian holidays, celebrate Christmas and give gifts, gifts, and more gifts.

Christmas is the best season of the year for people and companies who sell things. It's not the best season for people who are barely getting by. I see so many people who are terribly stressed during the Christmas season -- do they have enough gifts, did they leave anybody out, is the gift the right gift, did they spend enough money, or did they spend too much? Some enjoy every minute of it -- for others it's a month-long reminder that they don't have the means to give the beautiful gifts that they would like to give.

I wish I could change some of these Christian traditions so that nobody would feel inadequate because they are not well-heeled during what should be a time when everyone feels a bit of peace and good will. I doubt if there's any way to stop the excessive gift-giving but I've got an idea about how to make it a little less expensive.

There's a holiday in January that we don't pay much attention to. It comes at the end of the Twelve Days of Christmas -- starting on Christmas Day, the Twelve Days actually don't come before Christmas, they follow Christmas. The holiday is called Epiphany and it falls on Jan. 6. It's a feast day that means different things to Christians depending on what part of the world they live in. For some, the feast celebrates the Baptism of Christ in the Jordan River. For others, the feast celebrates the coming of the Magi. Jan. 6 falls 12 days after Christmas -- the day the Magi showed up at the manger with the presents.

My idea is to quietly make Jan. 6 into a bigger family holiday. It seems appropriate since it's the day the actual presents were delivered long ago. We could go to a candlelight Christmas Eve service and on Christmas Day remember why the holiday is a holiday. I could then hit the after-Christmas sales and buy a really expensive (artificial) tree with all the trimmings for a small fraction of what it would cost in December. And I could buy lots of stuff for next-to-nothing after retailers mark everything down several times. Then I'd start a new tradition and invite family and friends in for an Epiphany feast with gifts -- lots of gifts, and I wouldn't be broke or in debt.

Well, it's just my own little idea of how to cope with Christmas. Don't tell the retailers.


Comments
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For those of you who may not be Christian, Christmas is a great time to celebrate the solstice! There is no Santa in Dies Natalis Solis Invicti, so you don't have to worry about giving gifts :)

Let's all join hands and bring peace for our unconquered Sun!

Oh, and don't forget the turkey, dressing, and mashed potatoes.

-- Posted by per moenia urbis on Wed, Dec 3, 2008, at 2:52 PM

Amen! We decided years ago that we would no longer give gifts only because commercialism or tradition demanded it, not on Christmas, not Valentines Day, Birthdays, etc. It is wonderful feeling!

Besides, it's not like the 'old days' when people wished all year for one or two special things on Christmas, or Birthdays. Now people indulge themselves and their kids year round, don't they?

Nothing grates on my nerves more then hearing someone whine that they "may not be able to afford a Christmas" for their family. NO ONE can take away Christmas, or any holiday, from you or your kids. YOU WILL STILL HAVE A CHRISTMAS even with no gifts! Maybe an even better one BECAUSE of it if one stretches their imagination and gives more of themselves.

I heard a wonderful suggestion for a free gift to those you love. A carefully worded letter to them about what they mean to you and what you love about them,tied in a lovely bow. A true treasure, I would think, that would be kept for a lifetime, not discarded by spring thaw.

-- Posted by STILLHOPEFUL on Wed, Dec 3, 2008, at 4:45 PM

loved the article.

-- Posted by texas ranger on Fri, Dec 5, 2008, at 11:28 AM

Well said, Anna. You have a knack--I'd say gift but I know you honestly put forth an effort--for expressing your opinions without insinuating that anyone who disagrees with you is intolerant, ignorant, or unenlightened.

This blog reminds me of a family you and I both know who, when their girls were still little girls, created their own Christmas tradition sans presents by taking a little getaway-after-Christmas to a quiet, secluded cabin where they would just enjoy the loveliness of being a family.

Thank you for a gentle reminder that none of us matter more than all of us. Merry Christmas Anna and family!

-- Posted by Lorhagatha on Tue, Dec 9, 2008, at 8:25 PM

"Nothing grates on my nerves more then hearing someone whine that they "may not be able to afford a Christmas" for their family. NO ONE can take away Christmas, or any holiday, from you or your kids. YOU WILL STILL HAVE A CHRISTMAS even with no gifts! Maybe an even better one BECAUSE of it if one stretches their imagination and gives more of themselves."

Well said,STILLHOPEFUL.

-- Posted by hopeanddust on Fri, Dec 12, 2008, at 4:27 PM

"Nothing grates on my nerves more then hearing someone whine that they "may not be able to afford a Christmas" for their family. NO ONE can take away Christmas, or any holiday, from you or your kids. YOU WILL STILL HAVE A CHRISTMAS even with no gifts! Maybe an even better one BECAUSE of it if one stretches their imagination and gives more of themselves."

Well said,STILLHOPEFUL.

-- Posted by hopeanddust on Fri, Dec 12, 2008, at 4:51 PM

http://www.moviefone.com/movie/what-woul...

Posted this in response to the wrong blog earlier but if anyone hasn't seen, "What Would Jesus Buy?" It's worth the rental from the Linton Video place. Rev Billy and the 'CHurch of Stop Shopping", hilarious, sad and moving.

-- Posted by STILLHOPEFUL on Mon, Dec 15, 2008, at 5:54 PM


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