It’s Christmas time yet again, and this year I wanted to do something a bit different – and I want you to join me. It’s no secret that I hate the commercialisation of Christmas and all the waste associated with it. I’m also cognisant that everyday my son is learning more and more from my wife and I, and I want to ensure that we are teaching him appropriately. The best way that I know how to teach him, is to lead by example – so that’s what I plan on doing.
Christmas, Money and Oranges
It’s no secret that Christmas has been corrupted by money. There are many reasons for this, which I am not going to go into, but ultimately I can’t see the original Christmas (very much a religious event) returning to its simpler roots any time soon.
While my wife and I were recently on vacation, we were watching a small news segment where a reporter was visiting a heritage listed property that was home to some very wealthy people many years ago. The actual news item wasn’t all that exciting or interesting, however, there was one small part of the report that really stood out to me. She was talking about what Christmas was like for the people who lived in the house, and that a good Christmas gift for a child in that day and age was to receive a bag of oranges.
A bag of oranges… Could you imagine giving a kid today a bag of oranges today?
It’s evident to me that most people today (myself included) have a real entitlement complex, especially when you consider how privileged we are when compared to our grandparents and their grandparents before them.
The Meaning of Christmas
I grew up in a family that wasn’t religious, yet we still celebrated Christmas. As a kid I never questioned it – I didn’t really know any better. We got presents on Christmas morning, ate lots of yummy food and had a lot of fun. Now I don’t want to bash my parents in anyway – they did a great job and some of my best memories as a child were of Christmas day – I loved it! But there was something I now feel that was missing, or at the very least, understated.
If I can put the religious aspect of Christmas to the side for a moment, I think that it’s important that at least some of the original message of Christmas be restored. I hate the capitalistic Christmas that we celebrate today, but I also see a great Christmas opportunity.
I think everyone can agree that when people think of Christmas they think of giving. Normally it is giving in the form of gifts to a friend or family member. The gift is supposed to be a symbol to show someone how much we love, cherish and appreciate them. Unfortunately the more common reality is that no one know what to get each other, and the end result is often something that you don’t really want, but end up smiling and saying thank you for. Now I appreciate that it isn’t the actual gift that counts, but the feeling and message behind the gift – the intention if you will. But it does feel like a colossal waste of money, when simply spending time together or telling someone how you feel would likely mean just as much, if not more.
So this Christmas I personally want to make a change – I want to start giving the gift of charitable donations to charities who actually need the money. I am also hoping that you agree with me and will limit the amount of over the top spending that is associated with Christmas and to think of the less fortunate.
Some of the things I suggest is to talk to your relatives and see if they would be interested in helping those less fortunate instead of buying each other gifts. Even if you only do it for 1 year and then go back to the way you normally celebrate Christmas – I’m sure the Charities will be thankful for the donation. Another option is to reduce the amount you spend on each person by say $10, and then put that money towards making a difference. There are so many ways to get involved and if you are smart about it, you don’t have to spend any more money than you normally do.
I’m ashamed to admit this, but it shouldn’t have taken my son watching and learning from me to want to show him what being a good person and what Christmas is all about. I always thought I was a better person than I actually have been, and it has only been through having my son that I have come to realise just how selfish I have been / still am – I don’t want to pass that on.
I still plan on buying my son Christmas presents and watching him enjoy Christmas in the same way that I did as a child. The main difference is that I want him to appreciate that as a family we are very privileged. Not everyone has had the same opportunities that we have had, and while it isn’t something I want to burden him with, it is important he understands that we can and should make a difference if we are able to.
I don’t often ask for favours, but if you could please share this post with your friends, relatives, co-workers, readers (if you are a blog owner) – pretty much everyone, I would love to see a more charitable Christmas become the norm in the future.