I have always had fond memories of Christmas.
When we were children our parents would drive us past houses lit up with glistening lights, we would go to the mall to have our pictures taken with Santa while we listed all the things we were hoping to unwrap under the tree this year. I remember we would go to my Nonna’s house on Christmas Eve, have a feast and unwrap one present while surrounded by all of my cousins, and on the drive home I would search the sky furiously for any sign of Santa Claus and his reindeers.
Upon waking on Christmas morning I would run downstairs and see if Santa ate his milk + cookies, and if he shared the carrots with his reindeer. Once I noticed the crumbs I would run outside to see if I could find any traces of reindeer tracks. Then my mom would set up the Christmas music, we would turn on the fireplace (or the fireplace channel, anyway) and we would spend the morning opening gifts, making cinnamon rolls and watching Christmas movies. It all felt so special and magical.
While I recognize that children have an imaginative whimsy surrounding holidays, I refuse to believe that once you grow up, you have to lose all of that Christmas magic. For most of my life, I have worked in retail around Christmas and have always loved when the holiday displays come out. But it seems year over year, people are more worried about how much they can buy, what deals they can get, making sure they have the latest and greatest. The lines at malls grow exponentially as they days til Christmas shrink lower and lower. In fact, Christmas Eve is the busiest time of the year for retail.
I guess my question/wonder/thought is - why do we have to lose the magic of Christmas? When was Christmas spirit replaced by stuff? When did consumerism trump time with family and loved ones? Is this year going to bring people back to the basics of Christmas or will we still be searching endlessly for “stuff” to give away this Christmas?
This all might seem very counterintuitive from someone who owns an online retail shop but the products I sell are zero waste or eco friendly options to some basic necessities in life and/or an eco-friendly way to indulge in self care. There is a difference between supporting small, local businesses who pay fair wages to their employees and put thought and care into their offerings versus supporting large corporations that exploit women and children in third world countries to get you poor quality products at a lower cost.
Gift giving is a natural part of Christmas dating back to the three wise men bringing offerings to baby Jesus when he was born. Gift giving is fun and exciting and it is soul-filling to bring a smile to people’s face as they light up with joy on Christmas morning. My hope this Christmas is we remember the joy and the magic of the holiday more so than focusing on the amount of “stuff” we give.
Be thoughtful, be kind, be magical.
Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays!
Disclosure: This is very much an opinion piece from my experiences and observations which I realize will not reflect everyone’s experience. It is meant to be thought provoking and insightful and does not negate anyone else’s experience surrounding the topic. In fact, I encourage you to share your story and your thoughts as well!