I have a confession. I am not a big fan of Christmas and have long wished we could celebrate the season differently. Over the years, I have asked family and friends to save themselves the time and expense of gift giving and just spend time together over much food and revelry instead. And each time I’ve brought up this idea, I’ve been given incredulous looks and gasps of horror at the mere suggestion. “What!…You don’t want to celebrate Christmas…what’s the matter with you, girl!…It’s a tradition!”
Of course, this is not what I have suggested at all, but the reaction is always the same.
So, I’ve pretty much abandoned my idea and have succumbed to the season just like everyone else. I have learned to tame my Inner Scrooge at the holidays and grumble under my breath from time to time as I watch everyone I know scurry around frenetically searching for the perfect gifts, more stressed out than ever. But, for the record…I’m not actually opposed to Christmas itself…it’s just how we do it that gives me the holiday blues.
Quite the contrary, I love the lights, decorating the tree, the music, the eggnog, and all the festivities. But the commercialism and materialism of this particular holiday…makes me crazy and yes, a little sad.
Here’s one reason why:
According to the Gallup Poll, the average American will spend about $800 this year on Christmas gifts. All this for one day in our lives in which we are almost always too exhausted from over-indulging, over-shopping and over-doing that we seldom have the energy to enjoy the day itself!
If I ruled the world…or even my household (which clearly I don’t!) here’s how we’d do Christmas:
1. There would be no Christmas lights, music or retailing allowed until December 1st, allowing us to bask in the glow of Thanksgiving and gratitude a bit before the next holiday.
2. We would only be allowed to give gifts to children under the age of 12.
3. We would be required to gift money into college funds for our children over 12. That way, they could grow up and have resources for education to create a better life for themselves, rather than have more stuff they don’t need, or even remember a month later.
4. Instead of spending all of our Christmas budget on gifts, we’d give half of our allocated budget away to those who are poor and hungry. Just imagine how many people we could collectively help with only half of the $800 budget Gallup says we’ll spend each year!
5. There are over 300 million people living in this country and of that,
over 50 million people here live in poverty or are food insecure.
If only half of us gave half ($400) of our Christmas budget away
INSTEAD of spending it on more stuff, we could raise over
61 BILLION DOLLARS and END WORLD HUNGER. Permanently.
According to the Borgen Project , all we need is 40 Billion to
accomplish this, so there’d even be money left over to fund
college or job programs!
So, I’m not anti-Christmas or even a closet Scrooge…I just think we need to spend our time and money on more important things.
In a world filled with suffering, it would be great if we used this holiday season to not only celebrate the birth of Christ, but to slow down and reflect on our own spiritual nature. We can honor Him most by working to become more like Him…through cultivating greater love and compassion for all of humanity.
So this is my Christmas Wish: Peace on Earth and the end of world hunger and poverty. We have the power each Christmas to put our money where it truly counts.
And what better way to celebrate the Spirit of Christ…
So, what’s your Christmas Wish this season? I’d love to hear from you.
Peace & Blessings!