As I walked through the mall, newly purchased cellphone comfortably in my pocket, I noticed just how few people were actually shopping that night. My task was easy – I went in, I bought what I wanted and I got the hell out. A mall this deserted is a sight that will grow increasingly rare as the money-driven spectacle that is Christmas approaches.
The decorations, tree and even wrapping paper are all becoming a competition, prompting families to have the most nicely decorated house, the biggest Christmas tree and the most gorgeously wrapped presents.
Don’t get me wrong, I have nothing against Christmas – not what Christmas is supposed to be, anyway. But more and more each year, the essence of Christmas is lost, replaced and driven by the force of money.
The season that used to be about goodwill and holiday spirit is becoming nothing more than a frenzy of consumerism.
The malls flood with hungry customers looking for the best deals; customers who are lured into the stores with promises of sales and corny jingles, all so they can show their loved ones how much they care.
People are put under immense pressure to find the perfect gifts, and usually those don’t come cheap. Gift prices usually don’t even factor in the purchasing decisions – parents will scramble to get their kids the hottest toys and boyfriends will buy their girlfriends expensive jewelry just to make sure they don’t disappoint their expectant receivers.
Stores take full advantage of the Christmas mayhem. Holiday-themed music and attractive window displays are used to entice customers in and into spending far too much of their hard-earned money on presents that have become almost obligatory.
But is that really what Christmas is about? Is Christmas best encapsulated by the notion of giving gifts?
Sadly, that is what it has become.
It is now a commercial holiday, with companies capitalizing on needy consumers to make massive profits in a season that isn’t supposed to be about material worth.
We have forgotten what Christmas is actually about.
It is about, or at least used to be about, Christianity celebrating the birth of Jesus Christ, and while not always followed and celebrated for its sheer religious value, it has always been a time for the gathering of families.
Christmas is an opportunity to visit with those close to us and to unwind from our busy jobs and lives. It should be a chance to re-connect with loved ones and celebrate how privileged we are.
I’ve had no exemption from falling into the clutches of Christmas temptations. As a child I would wake up Christmas morning thinking of nothing other than barbarically tearing the wrapping paper off my presents so I could see the treasures that lay hidden beneath their shiny surface.
And there’s nothing wrong with children being excited by the sheer idea of Christmas. But we, as a society, must take a step back and try to instil the true values of Christmas into future generations; family and togetherness must go hand-in-hand with the presents.
The spirit of Christmas has for a long time been diminishing. It’s up to us to make sure that we don’t lose it entirely.