Today I’m wondering why the very beginning of the Christmas Commercial trappings have to show their money-grubbing hands before Thanksgiving. Sometimes even before Halloween. And I wonder if in other countries the same thirst for having the next best thing is just as much a curse as it is for us here in the United States. The whole keeping up with the ” Jones” (no offense to any Jones’) and having to have the next newest technology, throwing out the old like it simply has lost any purpose. [That’s a whole other topic, The Throw away Generation.]
I’m thinking maybe here in the US we may celebrate very differently, and with money being at the fore front of celebration expectations. After I received the most lovely comment from another blogger about her native Uganda and how Christmas is celebrated in her native country the thoughts I’ve carried regarding the capitalistic Christmas that seems to be done so righteously here in the states have been simmering away since. There the gifts given each year remain the same. No advertised “want to have’s, must haves’, no brand names & costly wears, no first-rate high-tech gadgets adorn their list. In fact a wish list is even unheard of, and the gifts exchanged are things such as new Sunday Best’s, new shoes, things that are necessary and have a practical sense. In her country the celebration revolves around family and friends spending time together and breaking bread. As I see the shopping malls, and downtown shoppers fight for parking space like they were at some sort of sport event (the Gladiators come to mind) so they can rush in to purchase the gifts they hope will put them on the top of their receiver’s list. It’s a competition. Who is going to make great grandma cry because she’s touched the most by a gift, which family member is going to sit and mindfully and to him/her self and add up dollar totals to see who was spent the most on. This instead of being present and being mindful of the closeness of sitting together in the same room and absorbing the family love.
Instead of Christmas being focused on material things in this country unlike our own the focus in Uganda remains on family, on spirit, and on the blessings of the passing year & of upcoming New Year. How did we lose the real meaning? When did it happen?
Focus on why we’re celebrating, focus on family, time spent all together and focus on the love we sometimes get so busy to share. This is the only part of the REAL meaning. The focus here in the US, or at least for the majority of the people here is on who has the best and newest gadget, diamonds and jewels adorning both female & males ears, necks and arms. The latest celebrity brand name item whether it be perfume, clothing or even cookware. Items that have nothing wrong with them but yet the binging is going to try to bite you bad during this season which should be Holy.
The Holy Season. Hmmm… I am just not seeing this in my fellow and sister folk alike. There is a constant buzz because the item of the childs wish list cannot be found anywhere so the panic sets in. Really? How long will the disappointment last if the chase for the elusive gift isn’t successful? The panic sets in while the parents, grand parents, aunts & uncles drive themselves around a wicked crazy parking lot looking for the one spot they need to open up.
I’m not too excited about the idea of gifting items that will be shoved to the back of the closet, donated, or re-gifted this year. Or soon to be forgotten since a new, better, more improved has to be had. Not that I take issue with any of these actions. Just not after I’ve been in the parking lot trying to park longer than it took me to purchase and have gift wrapped your “Have to have gift” but “will be laid aside tomorrow’ gift. Forgive me if my enthusiasm seems rippled this year. It is.
The cheesy “As seen on TV” products to 5th avenue New York diamond tennis bracelet have me completely worn out and leaving my passion behind. I’ve made one of the most HUGE Christmas mistakes of my life when it comes to gift giving. Not being done by August. I usually start seeing ideas, the perfect gift for **** right after Christmas and would start tucking away. My main goal aside from pleasing my recipients was to not be in a single store after December 1st. This has always allowed me to enjoy the season rather than fight it. I could see the glorious Christmas lights without being entangled by the sales pitches.
I goofed this year and hardly made my deadline. Maybe this is why my blogging friend’s narrative of how Christmas is spent in Uganda touched me so. I, could this year for the first time in close to 30 years out in those parking lot wars, be one that is looking for the greatest and newest. I could be dragging myself and anyone close to me down the merry road of craziness because I am unable to find what I am looking for.
But I’m not.
I’m not because those thoughts that have been lingering and simmering about capitalistic and commercialized Christmas’ have finally boiled over. Maybe the recall of Uganda’s traditions took my boiling point up. However it happened I have been blessed with the realization and inner knowledge that Christmas is not any of those things that involve shopping, or even involve the newest and the greatest. I’m apologize to those whose bubble I just broke. ♥
This year my stresses could be about the gifts. But it’s having no place in my Christmas and Winter Holiday Season. This does not mean I am not gifting this year. I am. But I am going about it in a different way. Rather than get caught up in the ridiculousness of it all I have made the choice to make this year to make it all about why we are gathering in the first place.
This is the time in my family and small world that we celebrate Christ. The “token gifting” that I am giving this year has nothing to do with the latest and greatest. At least by Wall Street standards. Instead each gift will resonate from the gifts that God has brought to the Universe. From wild salmon taken from the seas to music from voices of angels. These gits may not have the guarantee of being the favorite, or even make the hardest individuals to buy for smile.
This year I don’t mind. This year the lesson from above for me is to see that all that rushing around to purchase gifts that will soon be forgotten is not what it’s about. I knew this all along but frankly did not have the courage to do what I knew was right. This year I am having the courage to do it differently. I too got caught up in the commercialism of it all. This year I alone may feel good about what I gave, even if the message intended with each gift is lost on the receiver it will never be lost on me again.
I, God, and the Universe will know.
Together we will know that the real meaning of this season is not lost at all. It’s in our hearts where it can create and inspire knowing that God’s Love will sustain us all year-long. This is the most touching magical gift of all.
♥ I’m wishing you and those who dearest to you a very Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukkah , & Happy Kwanza! ♥