Commercialized Christmas

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By Giano M. Libot

I have issues

Friday, December 27, 2013

WHILE many express disappointments over the loss of the purity of Christmas, the forgotten traditions, the inevitable change brought about by its commercialization.

Before, Christmas was indeed a particularly religious celebration, and one often only celebrated by most Christians. Now, it has also taken on a secular and less religious bound form. While this appears to be the watered down version of what many wish to accept, I find this version of Christmas to be something also quite positive.

Commerce brings a bundle to a lot more families this season, while you see spending and price tags. I see sales and circulation. What we are witnessing isn’t mere wasteful spending. Though dare me to indulge that this generalization doesn’t work for all people, but I think most spend right on the Christmas season.

But I guess the most important habit about this season is the spirit of gift giving, and rightfully, one that is no longer restricted to only Christians. If there’s an acquisition that has been embedded and shared cross culture, and an infectious spirit of the Christmas season, this isn’t just buying gifts or receiving it. What’s important is the exchange, and now a lot more people have been able to enjoy the tradition.

While us, Christians, can still reflect on the origins and retention of the spirit of the Christmas, the story of the nativity, the birth of Jesus Christ. Many of the different beliefs in our country are able to access Christmas through a more neutral medium. For sure, you can look at Santa Claus as having fairly western and even religious of inspirations from Saint Nicholas, but commerce has also made the figure endearing and less polarizing to be accepted even by people who don’t have a religion. The jolly old man in a red jump suit is a children story nowadays, and a lot of families playfully put on the write letters to Santa even if they don’t really know where the origins of it comes from, but does this matter? I think, it matters quite less because it’s made children enjoy this one night, despite varying traditions.

This secularization also spells good news for many, either perhaps caused by economies of scale where a lot more people are celebrating the season. The commercial success of Christmas, in a recent study published in The Economist, has indicated that this year, the cost for a regular Christmas dinner has now been 70% cheaper than it was a few years back. A lot more people are buying in to the new tradition, one less religious, perhaps more commercial, but I think, it has its positives, after all, the real spirit of Christmas isn’t just in the exchange of gifts, it’s in the gathering of loved ones. The holidays allow for a certain rekindling, and people who haven’t celebrated it before are now beginning to celebrate it in their own special way. Dare me to say, I think Jesus would have loved this kind of Christmas too.

Published in the Sun.Star Cagayan de Oro newspaper on December 27, 2013.


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