Reflection on the Christmas season benefits the New Year

Santa Claus takes part in New York City's Macy's Day Parade.

Photo by Mike Lawrie

Santa Claus takes part in New York City's Macy's Day Parade.

Sydney Calhoun, Staff Writer

Coming off the Christmas season and beginning the New Year, we should be renewed with happiness from quality time spent with loved ones. Unfortunately, in the recent years, tis’ the season of frantic sales and retail propaganda. As you reflect back on your Christmas this year, ask yourself, did you embrace the joys of the season, or were you drawn to the superficial side of celebration?

Seeing Christmas decorations at local stores such as Target and Walmart in October is disheartening. Instead of enjoying the Fall season, we are rushed through Halloween and arrive at Christmas, completely stiff-arming Thanksgiving. Black Friday ads devour turkey day and Jack Frost Radio makes its way to our homes within a matter of weeks.

Moreover, the commercialization of this holiday—Macy’s, Best Buy, Nordstrom, etc.—has made it difficult to acknowledge the true identity of the season: a celebration of life. Since 1924, Macy’s has portrayed the “Jolly Fellow” in the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade. Instead of remembering the story of Christmas, people flock to this department store after the parade to shop.

Emergence of “shopping holidays”, such as Black Friday, has caused multiple cases of violence at a time when there should be love, hope and family. Shoppers fight to get the last flat-screen television or stampede in the doors to be the first to the sale racks. According to U.S. News, there have been several injuries during the 2016 Black Friday events in Ohio, New York, California, Texas and Michigan. Not only does Black Friday shopping employ people on days they should be spending with family, but it also perpetuates the idea that holidays are solely about gifting monetary items to people as gifts, yet the real meaning of Christmas is celebrating each other’s lives and successes each year with family and friends.

“I start Christmas shopping in November because that’s when all the sales begin, and if you wait too long, all the good stuff will be sold out. I don’t think doing this takes me away from my family, it just gives me a head start,” Ms. Gayle Frank, religious aid at Saint Agnes parish, said.

Traditionally, holidays are spent with loved ones we don’t usually see during the 9-5 work week. People take the time to appreciate everyone around them during the holidays, celebrating life moments together, sitting around the table for special dinners, singing and dancing. Many of us have forgotten the true meaning of Christmas.

Legend has it, Saint Nicholas traveled the world giving to the less fortunate, bringing hope and prosperity to their lives. As the years go by, this beautiful story and the spirit of Christmas is lost.

As said in “Miracle On 34th Street”, “I’m not just a whimsical figure who wears a charming suit and affects a jolly demeanor. You know, I’m a symbol. I’m a symbol of the human ability to be able to suppress the selfish and hateful tendencies that rule the major part of our lives,” Chris Cringle said.

If we want Christmas to represent how precious life can be, we need to separate from the monetary gifting mentality and give ourselves to each other spiritually and emotionally. May you keep the Christmas virtues of love, generosity and thankfulness alive in the New Year.