Materialism and its Relation to Christmas

I was conversing with my roommate yesterday evening about Christmas gifts and the amount of money Christmas tends to involve. We were discussing how Christmas has become a holiday of money as opposed to a holiday of family or appreciation, and our conversation prompted me to consider how materialistic Christmas has become.

I honestly cannot recall a point in my life in which Christmas did not symbolize a time of gift-giving. Giving and receiving gifts is undoubtedly a pleasant experience, however I find it troublesome to recognize that the main association with Christmas in contemporary society is money and consumerism in order to purchase materialistic items.

Since when did it become a societal norm to look forward to Christmas solely because of the gifts it presents? What shifted in order to permit the holidays to become a time of stress and financial burdens rather than being in the company of family, friends and those who love us?

Although I do not practice what I am about to preach, but would it not be for more rewarding to engage in community or charity work throughout the holiday season instead of spending time in malls obsessing over what gifts to buy? Should we not focus on seeing and visiting family we may not encounter regularly throughout the year as opposed to spending hundreds of dollars on gifts we hope to impress them with? I am not saying to entirely scrap the concept of gift giving and receiving, however I am saying that there is more to Christmas than materialistic gifts that will likely lose their shine within a couple of weeks.

Perhaps instead of allowing ourselves to become stressed and irritated over the task of purchasing gifts for friends and family we should instead focus on the true purpose of the holidays, which is to express the love and appreciation we have for others. It saves a lot of money, and it honours the actual intention of Christmas.

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