The real holiday spirit found in time, not material

Tuesday, April 7th, 2009

November 28, 2007 Ed Cartoon

While it’s still only November, the Holiday season is out in full force, with Christmas trees and wreaths going on sale, lights beginning to show up on houses and television flooded with commercials.

It feels like the Holidays are coming earlier and earlier each year, and that got The Gazette wondering: are they getting more commercial, or are we just forgetting what it was like last year? Are we actually concentrating more on the commercial aspects of the Holidays, or is this old news?

It’s easy to see the Holidays have changed dramatically over the years; the commercial phenomenon of Christmas, Hanukkah, Ramadan, Kwanzaa and the Holiday season as a whole is nothing new.

There is certainly no denying, though, the family-oriented mentality of the season has slowly gone by the wayside over the years in favour of Cabbage Patch Kids, Furbies and Nintendo Wiis.

It is important to note that the Holidays were originally about religious celebration, and it might be argued commerce fills a void left by the removal of the birth of Christ and the festival of lights.

However, the change in mentality is also likely caused by an increasingly consumer-driven society in which pre-Holiday hype and advertising rule supreme for religious and non-religious observers alike.

As such, the real reasons behind whatever holiday we are celebrating are often lost, and it’s important for the season to get back to its roots, whether that is family, relaxation, tradition or religion.

The money and time invested into Holiday efforts might therefore be better spent concentrating on experiences with the family rather than material possessions. A loved one is far more likely to take something out of a vacation than a Tickle-Me-Elmo or an iPod.

One sign of the absurdity of today’s Holidays is the necessity of Family Day in February " isn’t that a large part of what the Holidays were about in the first place?

Unfortunately, that’s not what the Holiday season is about today. Hence, it’s time we started searching for a middle ground and merge consumerism with tradition.

There is nothing inherently wrong with the thoughtfulness of gift exchange, and, within reason, it is a large part of what the Holidays should stand for.

However, an equally large part of the season is the tradition behind the holidays. No matter what you’re celebrating this December, it’s important to remember and cherish the reasons behind it.

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