This past Friday was Black Friday. Today is Cyber Monday. And the Christmas season is all around us. The reality is, it has been all around us for quite some time. Our local Wal-Mart had Christmas decorations out as in September. Before the Halloween costumes were on the shelves I could by a Christmas tree. I saw a meme the other day, that spoke of this absurdity. Black Friday shopping was starting earlier and earlier each year. 10 years ago it started at 6:00 AM Friday. 5 years ago it was at midnight. 2 years ago it was at 10:00 Thanksgiving night, this year it was at 6:00 Thursday night and in 5 years it will start on 4th of July. While I was at out running errands earlier today, I was speaking to an acquaintance who was noticing similar problems. Christmas was no longer about what it was when we grew up.
I know that makes me sound like a person who was attached to tradition and the way things used to be. I know that makes me sound like a person out of touch with the modern world. But, just because something is modern, it does not mean that it is something better. (Ask any Star Wars fan. The original trilogy was way better than the more modern trilogy). As I look back on the way things used to be for this holiday season, compared to what it is today, I am deeply saddened. Today materialism has seemed to grip the nation. People are trampled to buy a TV half off. People get into fist fights to make sure they are the ones that get their hands on the latest iphone. People are pushing, shoving, and yelling at each other over a doll. What happened to our nation? What happened to us?
I love watching the Christmas episodes of The Little House on the Prairie. My favorite season was the year that Laura sold her horse to pay for a new stove for her mother. She made the ultimate sacrifice to give to another person. I also appreciated the fact that most of the gifts given through the years on that show were handmade. They were given from the heart. They were not just the most expensive gift that could be purchased. And most of all, I appreciated the fact that the children were more than thank to receive one gift. Of course, that really shouldn’t surprise me. My favorite Christmas was the year I didn’t open a single present on Christmas day. My aunt, uncle, and cousins came home for Christmas (from South Carolina I think). We all went to Grandma’s house. A blizzard hit Christmas eve and things got so bad that we actually couldn’t make it home. We were snowed out of our home! We spent the week just hanging out with family, wearing the same clothes (and PJs that we opened on Xmas eve) all week. None of us (my brother, sister, and I) were disappointed about it. To be honest the only other Christmas I remember as well was the year that I got a car. (Just something about that 1st car isn’t there).
Today, we seem to feel the need to shove as many presents under the tree as humanly possible. Today we seem to feel the need to buy the world’s most expensive gift. Today we seem to feel the need to give our children the latest gadgets, smart phones, tablets, and whatever else lest they be noticed as being not cool. But not my home. I am taking a stand. I don’t want to teach my children that Christmas is about getting stuff. I want my children to remember cuddling up as we read stories together. I want my children to remember laughing together. I want my children to remember family.