The Bright Lights of Christmas - Too Much or Too Little?

Peter B. GiblettStarred Page By Peter B. Giblett, 7th Dec 2012 | Follow this author | RSS Feed | Short URL
Posted in Wikinut>Family>Daily Life

Christmas seems to be a season where there is so much pressure in the boiling pot, yet there are many that suggest a need to move to a more basic holiday season and lose many of the excesses we see at this time of year. Is it time we seek a simpler and more family oriented holiday season?

Happy Spendmas!

This commentator is trying to view the celebration of Christmas through independent eyes, not being Christian, but having attended a Church of England school it is easy to see the importance of this holiday as a centre of religious focus, yet today this holiday has developed to much more than this often with commercial interests taking over as if the celebration were simply about self gratification, greed and profit. We are urged to spend, spend, spend and when we are finished spending then we have credit cards and store cards available that allow us to spend even more.

Take a look at the next section and those thrilling TV commercials and it is clear how commerce has taken control of Christmas, yet should that be the case? Also the message here is not one of being a killjoy, but one of caution and needing to return to basics. For those who are religious then then I am sure they would certainly suggest that Christmas is to celebrate the life and faith of Jesus and precisely what that means could certainly be the subject of theological debate which is not necessary in this context. For others, like myself, this season should be one that is celebrated with family, with good food, excellent discourse, some special treats and a few glasses of that special brew you have been stocking up on for many months now.

We love the Christmas Commercials

At this time of year the Christmas commercials are something that we keep a keen eye for on television, take a look at this one from Coca Cola, always a perennial favourite:

Or on another tack one by Microsoft's Bing Search Engine team:

And I do love this one from one of my favourite stores in the whole world, John Lewis:

Plus America's great store, Target:

Yet, whilst there is a message of giving it is also clear from looking at each of these there is a more important message of spending thus supporting the commercial side of Christmas.


The giving of presents at Christmas is a wonderful idea, because it supposedly embodies the spirit of the season; giving; yet giving from a commercial perspective means spending. and for many of years not the pressure has been to spend big. Just take a look at the average teenager's wish list and many of the items will cost hundreds of dollars and some even in the thousands, most start at a minimum of $50, yet this planet is still in the grip of a financial crisis of seemingly insurmountable proportions and there are many people that have no money to spend.

Chances are that most families will have in them people who have never have to worry about money, those with secure jobs, those whose income seems just to keep them afloat, and even those who are on the brink of losing their jobs, yet the pressure is on to spend blindly this Christmas as if your life depended upon it. We all deserve a little fun, joy and happiness but at what cost?

Should we be spending fortunes of such gifts? Obviously much here will depend on your personal financial circumstances, but the point of this message is one of simplification. There are families where parents purchase multiple gifts for their children and grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins etc are all encouraged to do the same, yet should we? Isn't one gift from each person good enough? So the child will not get everything that they want, but there is no harm in that - indeed many of the gifts given on the 25th will not survive till the new year as it seems so much choice means the child does not care about the things they have, they do not treasure them, and they are simply broken as a part of the holiday exuberance.

Lights and Glitter

All that glitters is great, or so many of the neighbours believe. It is truly wondrous to take a drive around any city and see the lights that private individuals have taken the trouble to display, with many houses decked from roof to basement and from kerbside to the back fence. These are truly a great spectacle and it is not necessary to drive to a far away destination to see such a sight, they are right in your own neighbourhood.

Many are certainly overkill, and it is necessary to wonder what the electricity bill is for such houses. Lights are great, even outdoor displays, but again it seems that this is a far cry from the origins of this festival. If you look back about a hundred and fifty years the addition of a single candle to a Christmas tree was seen by many as killing this holiday, yet today looking back at those more simple times and anything more than church candles offended those having more religious sensitivity. Another case for moderation?

The Eating, the Drinking, the Overindulgence!

The Christmas dinner is one of the great occasions of the year, it can bring a family together and bring cheer for all, we have granddad, uncle Bob, auntie Jasmine and all their children around the table and after the men retreat to the den for a few beers or other favourite beverages. What could be more pleasant? This is precisely what Christmas is all about for many, family and bringing the children together.

Sometimes, however, we have a tendency to overindulge at the Christmas season, certainly this is not a good time to start a diet

Time for Change?

One thing many people will agree upon is that Christmas has become over complicated and over commercialised, the season the was meant to bring 'goodwill to all mankind' has some how managed to integrate goodwill with a heavy dose of greed and profit. Now lets be clear there is every reason why businesses need to make a profit, it ensures continued employment for one thing, but Christmas is more than this, it should really be the season for family, for meditation, for understanding of what went well, and the things that went badly, and a time when we can understand how to do better next year.

The way we give needs to be much simpler, to be clear one of the great aspects of Christmas is giving but it should be as appropriate to give time and love as it is to give gifts or money, these moments we spend with friends and family should be the most precious of all.

The basics of Christmas should be about family. This next statement may draw some heat, but whether or not you are Christian should not should not make any difference to your enjoyment of the season, this mid-winter break is as much a time to stop us personally from running on empty, to give us a little time before the serious work starts again, that time is all important and if not taken can never be recouped. Spending that time resting and relaxing with family is vitally important yet it is too easy to get wrapped up in our own little worlds and this is where many people have become trapped over the years.

It is time to get away from the commercial side of Christmas and focus once again on the basics.

However you intend to spend your Christmas, then please have a great one!

Recent articles by Peter B. Giblett

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author avatar Judy Ellen
8th Dec 2012 (#)

I am a Christian but I also happen to agree with you that Christmas has become too commercialized and big business has taken advantage of this holiday! I long for the old fashioned Christmas of days gone by. Great article!

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author avatar Ptrikha
8th Jan 2013 (#)

Yes, festivals are meant to enjoy with families and relax, and not burden oneself by hurrying up and buying one thing after another.

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author avatar DuitByJames
8th Dec 2012 (#)

I concentrate on creating smiles and quality tine with friends and family. Also cooking and eating delightful food.

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author avatar Terry Trainor
9th Dec 2012 (#)

Thank I enjoyed your take on this festive season.

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author avatar Sivaramakrishnan A
10th Dec 2012 (#)

The marketing blitz targets the the most vulnerable, the children - thus putting the parents on a tight spot! Thought provoking, Peter, thanks for the share - siva

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author avatar writestuff
12th Dec 2012 (#)

Thanks for sharing another insight. With all the commercialization of Christmas this year, I forgot the USA was nearing the 'fiscal cliff''.

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author avatar Ptrikha
8th Jan 2013 (#)

In India also, many of our festivals have become a great platform for sellers to go all out and make people splurge and it seems too commercial and complicated at times. I too am a voter for simplicity, and agree with your views.

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