Remember Matt Blum’s lament, Why I Hate Christmas, from last year?
It drew a fair number of comments from both non-Christians and Christians who share his view: that Christmas is an over-marketed commercialized mess, and is often highly annoying even to people who want to celebrate the birth of Jesus. Among the chief offenses: the onslaught starts in October, or even September. The non-stop Christmas songs on the radio. The weird effect all of this has had on Hanukkah, which is not the most significant Jewish holiday but has been played up so Jewish kids don’t feel bad about not getting Christmas presents.
A few years ago, a handful of churches (including the one I attended in Portland, Oregon) came up with this idea called Advent Conspiracy. They talked about Jesus’ entry into the world as this revolutionary, paradigm-shifting event, one that should inspire something other than marketing blitzes and gadget greed. So then they set out a challenge: instead of contributing to the $450 billion that Americans spend on Christmas every year, how about putting that money instead toward something that somebody really needs, like digging wells in third-world countries (as one prominent example)?
Their slogan was “Spend Less, Give More,” and the idea is to give gifts of time, things that you make yourself, things that require a little more thought but often less money. And maybe Advent, and Christmas, will be a little less miserable. Start some traditions that don’t make the holidays simply something that adds to the stress, and leave behind the lesson that the best thing to ask a kid about Christmas is “What do you want?“
I know, not all of our readers are Christians or celebrate Christmas: on behalf of those of us who have been in-your-face with our “Reason-for-the-Season” buttons (while elbowing you aside for the cheap foreign-made crap at the big box stores), I apologize, and I hope that this year maybe a small percentage of people will start a new holiday tradition for their families, making Christmas just a little more enjoyable for everyone—especially those who can’t stand it.