Today as I was walking back class I overheard a conversation between a girl and her mother on the phone. The girl was whining that her mother had decided to buy her a new computer for school, instead of an iPad for Christmas. This led me to realize what many Americans have already realized: we’ve really lost the true meaning of Christmas.
The original reason Christians celebrated Christmas was because of the birth of Jesus Christ, whom they believe to be the savior. After Jesus’s birth the wise men brought gifts to the manger where Jesus was born. You’re probably wondering a fat, jolly man in a red suit came into the equation? Well, the legend of Saint Nicholas states that Saint Nicholas was a very rich and giving man who knew of a poor family with three daughters who could not afford to get married, so Saint Nicholas secretly dropped a bag of gold down their chimney. Then there is also the story that some countries in Europe and Scandivia originally celebrated Christmas around the time of the winter solstice (darkest point of the year) to bring some light into the darkness. These are three really different explanations for celebrating Christmas neither of which anyone really seems to remember anymore. Somehow the magic of Jesus’s birth, the kindness of Saint Nicholas, and the light on the darkest day of the year have morphed into a holiday that revolves around arguments over how nice the gift you get is. Christmas has truly become entirely about materialism.
Some people might say why is materialism around Christmas really relevant, the sad part is that the materialism displayed at Christmas seems to be perpetuating all aspects of our society. Today people put more value on the money they make and not enjoying their job, what you wear is more important than what you think, and money can buy anything or anyone. I suspect gained our greediness and materialism right around the time we fogged up the meaning of Christmas. While stopping the materialism around Christmas may not stop the materialism we see all over society, Christmas definitely contributes to the materialism we see everywhere today.