It’s hard to not notice Christmas. It starts creeping into your TVs, in your local shops a few months before the big day when you are repeatedly informed there are only ‘25 shopping days left’. Has Christmas become over commercialised over hyped and just a plain waste of money? We all know what it means and we all probably know the answer to this question, so why are we so happy to blindly embrace Christmas warts and all.
The dictionary definition of Christmas is the annual festival of the Christian church commemorating the birth of Jesus celebrated on December 25 and now generally observed as a legal holiday and an occasion for exchanging gifts.
In the UK it has become more of secularised holiday, and the true meaning seems to have been buried in a mound of crumpled wrapping paper. However there are still those that celebrate Jesus and attend church mass around the Christmas period. It seems that it has slowly become a rat race for the companies to advertise in every possible way to encourage people to buy into their products to have a happier Christmas.
All aspects of Christmas from the tree brimming with decorations, songs playing out from the radio, obscene amounts of food and drink, presents under the tree to be enjoyed with family and friends brings the tradition to individual families no matter how over priced and commercialised the majority of it is. There is somewhere along the line an acceptance that this is how it should be, and none of us would change it for the world. the world we live in has encouraged Christmas to be more materialistic rather than a religious commemoration.
The media plays a part in encouraging Christmas, but it is not the only festival in the calendar that receives the same commercialisation. Easter we receive eggs, although a symbol of the resurrection of Jesus, though in modern day society the eggs are allegedly hidden by the Easter bunny and chocolate filled with sweets inside.
Christmas is an time spent with family and friends and the feeling at this time of year is of being generosity, kindness to all. I enjoy travelling across the country seeing family and exchanging gifts and having a dinner together. I feel though that the commercialisation has tinted this slightly. Every year I buy into Christmas, I exchange presents with my close family but do so on a budget that it within means. However there is always a family member that buys you something more extravagant and usually more expensive. This gives a feeling of guilt that you have not spent the same amount of money, and your present can look slightly pathetic. However it should not be like this - most gifts are impersonal generic gift sets that you receive every year - maybe they just bought into or plain and simple they have more of a disposable income to lavish such gifts.
In England we have the typical traditions of the Queen’s Speech, classic TV runs and the endless list of films shown throughout Christmas day and boxing day. These traditions have become a ritual for many people, and have become fundamental part of the holiday season that really none of us know any different from.
Now not only do we have these traditions, but in recent years we have the battle for the Christmas number one.
The Christmas number one we seem to accept the fact that it is another stoic lifeless song fronted with a generic singer exhausting the words to an already well known song that holds no personal emotion other than providing their five minutes of fame.
It seems that Christmas has been geared toward a commercial opportunity rather than a family festival. Advertisers will cleverly place their adverts at convenient times of the day, causing children to want these products and causing high demand in the shops. The products can easily be advertised as a Christmas gift, which provides excellent marketing for the companies, making their product the must have item of the moment.
Christmas can start as early as October. The shops begin the selling of Christmas gifts and seasonal products in advance of the holiday season. The 12 days of Christmas should now be renamed the 12 weeks of Christmas. Its all about marketing and selling Christmas to the consumer to make the most profit possible no matter whether or not you can afford to pay for the gifts.
If you ask most children what Christmas means to them, they are more than likely going to say Santa or presents. I thought it was about celebrating the birth of Jesus Christ?
Instead consumers are storming up and down the high streets laden with bags full of thoughtless, impersonal gifts. If you enter most shops they will have the generic gift sets and overpriced gadgets. Once the Christmas decorations are packed away for another year as do the useless gifts set to gather dust in their overpriced snazzy cardboard graves.
I do like Christmas but what I hate the idea of spending vast amounts of money, purchasing things that we don't even need to fill the void that used to be the real meaning of Christmas.