The Christmas season is here again and with it comes the year's most excessive consumerism ever. The buying frenzy begins on Black Friday (for those in the USA) and continues all season long. It's also the time for racking up credit card debit and getting all stressed up with decorating, parties, shopping, spending etc ,. etc., etc.!
Christmas is not about presents
Jesus was born in a manger bereft of even the most essential physical comfort, so why has the celebration of His birth turned into so much materialism, and the gift-giving and decorating part have become so important that the essence of Christmas becomes secondary?
Less is More
My family and I have decided to cut back on our Christmas decorations. We will not put up our big tree, instead I got a table top tree which we decorated with LED lights which uses much less electricity. We will have more Nativity scenes around the house and an Advent wreath which we will use during the 4 Sundays of Advent. There will be no outdoor lights except for a small lighted Christmas bell.
As with the more simple decorations, we have also decided on a no gift Christmas. In other words no buying gifts for people who do not need them, that includes ourselves. Instead, we will share what we have like donating used but still good clothes, shoes and toys with others in need. Personally, I am making my own simple gifts, like glass cozies for close friends and giving away things that I have accumulated through the years but barely used.
A more meaningfulful Christmas
There are other things we can do that will give the season more meaning, for example:
1. Spend more time with family, create Christmas memories to last a lifetime
2. Help family or friends by providing them with a service like babysitting, run errands, etc.
3. Donate to worthy causes in the name of family and friends
4. Volunteer in a Christmas feeding and gift-giving program for under-privileged children
5. Share your home with orphans or abandoned children
6. Give prayer or mass cards instead of Christmas cards
7. Bring holiday cheer to the elderly and the sick
8. Share food and clothing with the poor
I'm sure there are still many other things we can think of, but the point I am trying to make here is Christmas was never meant to be a materialistic event. And so, this Christmas let us celebrate the birthday of our Savior by giving a lot of love and sharing simple joys, just as He would want it to be.