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What If There is No Christmas?

Updated on March 12, 2020
jackclee lm profile image

Jack is a volunteer at the CCNY Archives. Before retiring, he worked at IBM for over 28 years. His articles have over 120,000 views.


This is a intellectual exercise. It is a thought experiment for all of us. The question is what if there is no Christmas? I am referring not so much about the religious significance of that holiday but the economic impact of this tradition. Think of all the gifts not bought. Think of the end of Black Friday. What would the result be?

Will life be the same? The latest coronavirus outbreak is an early indicator. Look at the economic impact. When people stop traveling, going out to eat, or go to conferences and ball games? Many of these activities are not necessary to our survival. Will our economic system adapt to such a dramatic shift? Will the stock market become less relevant?

- March 2020

Our Consumer Based System

The Christmas holiday, accounts for half of all our spending. The reason Black Friday is so critical to our retail business. It is the Friday before Christmas where the retail business turn profitable after a whole year of operating in the loss. The question is what if we no longer celebrate this major holiday? What will happen to the retail business? What will happen to the toy business? What will happen to the Christmas tree business? and the millions of jobs associated with all these items?

Don't forget, many of these goods are consumer products that are unnecessary for survival. In fact, we need very little to survive. Some food, some water and some clothing and shelter and some energy to light and heat our homes and work place and some form of basic transportation to get around.

All the rest are niceties. A piece of expensive jewelry, a fancy car, a mansion, a cruise, a vacation, a yacht and a million other items. They make our existence fun and exiting but they are "optional."

But, it is precisely these other stuff that make our world go around. It is what generates demand for products and creation of new businesses, development of new and better ideas, new inventions, new drugs and better medical equipment to keep us happy and healthy.

Without such demands, how will our society be? How can we adjust to a world without Christmas?

The Coronavirus Crisis

The silver lining of this latest health crisis gives us a glimpse. As people are fearful of this unknown new virus, we stop traveling on planes and cruises. We stop going to ball games. We shut down our universities and schools. We stop going out to restaurants. The basic consumer society is curtailed to a minimum. The economic impact is great. Energy prices drop as businesses cut production. Businesses stop hiring or cut back on their labor force. Investors gets nervous and sell. A vicious cycle of down turn spiral begins. Where will it stop, no body can predict.

What is that silver lining? We stop and focus on what is important in our lives. Our health, our family and loved ones, our community and our country are all beneficiaries.

No man is an island. We are all in the same boat. What happens to one affect all others one way or another.

Getting back to my original question, what if there is no Christmas? The answer is we will survive. We will adjust over time to the new reality. Our economic system will adjust. The keyword is "survive", not thrive. Christmas brings out the best of us. It is a time of joy and celebration and giving. It is charity, good will and sharing. It is kindness and a feeling of peace and tranquility that cannot be measured in dollars and cents.

Do we want to live in a world without Christmas? if we had a choice?

Getting back to the current crisis. Do we want to live in fear? and stop all activities that are unnecessary?

The answer is up to you. What do you want out of your existence?


For me, the answer is simple. I want to celebrate Christmas. I want to bring joy to little kids. I want people to stop and enjoy and smell the rose away from their busy and hectic life. I want people to thrive and achieve new goals and not just live in fear and survive. Is this too much to ask?

What is the purpose of life if not to bring joy to others?

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.

© 2020 Jack Lee


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    • jackclee lm profile imageAUTHOR

      Jack Lee 

      14 months ago from Yorktown NY

      Marie, I was focused on the secular celebration of Christmas from a financial impact viewpoint. As for the religious part, it is one of the major holiday for Christians. As you know, Christianity is the majority religion in our country. However, it is not the most important holiday. That would be Easter. The whole tenet of Christianity is not that Christ was born but that he died and was resurrected. For Christians, celebrating Christmas has significance beyond the gifting. It is why the best selling song of all times is "White Christmas" and the best selling book by far is the Bible.

    • Marie Flint profile image

      Marie Flint 

      14 months ago from Jacksonville, FL USA

      Every day is Christmas. Every day is a gift. We are made from an intangible called spirit that never dies.

      Christmas, before we juxtaposed the birthday of Yeshua, was the celebration of the winter solstice. People found it psychologically helpful to perk up the shortest, darkest time of year. In the land of the midnight sun, people can get very depressed without sunlight. There is a celebration (not related to Christmas) when the sun returns.

      We don't even celebrate Christmas the way we did originally. In Christianity, the first day of Christmas is the 25th of December. The twelfth day is January 6th, Epiphany. The song "The Twelve Days of Christmas" commemorates this observance. Nowadays, though, Christmas decorations go up right after Thanksgiving and many families take them down the first of the year--or not at all! (People get tired of putting up and taking down decorations.)

      What would we do without Christmas? We'd think of something else, perhaps something not quite so expensive. Spending, then, would happen more evenly throughout the year.

    • profile image

      George C Lee 

      14 months ago

      Well said.

      Life is too short to live in fear, sadness , disappointment, hate, bitterness, ----------- etc. all the negativities and adversities .Often, without realizing, we surrendered to theses adversities and became an emotional slave of these bondages . As for my faith, the true freedom can only be found in Jesus Christ, our savior .

      People usually stay away from God because they believe they can do all things is they are determined. But , we know that does not always work. People only go to God only when there are no alternatives and

      take God as their last resort . Actually, Life could be so much better if we let God come into our life even there was not major challenge yet. Jesus love us and wants to give us the best if we accept him and open our heart to receive . May God 's blessing be with whoever is reading this comment. Emmanuel !

    • raymondphilippe profile image

      Raymond Philippe 

      14 months ago from The Netherlands

      We adjust. We have to. And in the process hopefully, we can bring joy to others.

    • Eurofile profile image

      Liz Westwood 

      14 months ago from UK

      I can see a lot of benefits from stripping away the over commercialism and getting back to the real significance of Christmas.

    • tsadjatko profile image

      The Logician 

      14 months ago from now on

      Well said Jack! We would go on. But I do know when the fear of the Coronas virus will stop. As soon as it is reported that the number of new cases has peaked and is going down which will be before we have a vaccine, after which it will become just another flu bug which by the way kills many more people per year, year after year, than this new virus will ever do.


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