On October 15th I walked into one of those ‘have it all stores’ looking for furniture. There was a lovely girl standing at the door greeting all customers: “Hi, did you get your Christmas cards yet? We have a great selection and it’s 30% off!”
Christmas was the last thing on my mind and I probably gave her a blank look.
“We have a whole section of discounted Christmas gifts, everything is 30-50% off. It’s right over there.” She was doing her job well, no doubt about it.
This was just the beginning. Two months before the actual event, every store I walked into already had at least a Christmas corner. Everyone I talked to was stressing out about their Christmas shopping and whether they’ll make it on time. A month before Christmas Amazon was sending me daily emails informing me of great deals I shouldn’t miss, Ebay was recommending numerous things, Macy’s sent me coupons and the list never ends.
This whole Christmas shopping frenzy was topped off by an email I received from a friend: “I’m almost done with my Christmas shopping. I spend a boat load of money. We have a few large family gatherings and there’s always tones of gifts being exchanged. These things are really huge and I must try to do my best getting something of significance to everyone. It’s stressful.”
A stressful Christmas, we nailed it! That’s exactly what Christmas is all about: the stress of buying the right gift, hopefully at the right price and rapped just the right way.
Not only was I not ready for Christmas two months ahead of time, I was appalled by the whole shopping extravaganza. Why did we turn Christmas and every other holiday into a well oiled corporate revenue creating machines?
Don’t we know how to love each other any more? Is buying love all we have left? Maybe lovingly caring just simply isn’t enough any more, we want more than that. The consumer society programmed us to show love and care by giving gifts: the more expensive the gift the more I love you.
Before you spend that ‘boat load of money’ and I hope you haven’t already, please stop and think. Why are you buying all those presents? Is there perhaps a different way, but being a consumer to show that Christmas spirit?
The void in our hearts does not get filled from outside. That is something only we ourselves can do by first loving ourselves unconditionally. Everything else will then follow and fall into place. Maybe then we can have a true spirit of Christmas arise again. Maybe then we will be enough, with or without the gifts.