The argument about Christmas Spirit vs. Christmas Commercialism is not new. Retailers have forever been seducing shoppers at Christmas time with all kinds of deals and specials. Most often it was a sideshow that only temporarily distracted humans from the real Spirit of Christmas. But today, it seems as though Christmas Commercialism, for many, is what Christmas is all about.
There is no doubt that the power of Christmas Spirit has long impacted the family of man. Humans, generally, treat one another friendlier during this time of year. Wars stop because of Christmas. People give to the less fortunate in a spirit of kindness. Christmas has an enduring universal power that makes most humans, regardless of religious beliefs or practices, understand that caring for one another is simply the right thing to do.
Christmas Commercialism attempts to create its own power. For many retailers and their media cohorts, it’s all about getting the consumer to spend. They promise deals on items that they know won’t be in the store. They create “scheduled” specials designed to manipulate your time. This is nothing new; it has gone on for years.
The problem, as I see it, is that the consumer is starting to drink the cool-aid more and more. People leave their Thanksgiving dinner tables to go shop instead of sharing family history and stories. People camp out overnight to be one of the first in line to get that big-screen TV that will only last until next Christmas. People are mean and rude to one another fighting over shopping carts, parking spaces, and that last item on the shelf. They cuss at one another, they become physical with one another, they disrespect one another, not because of the Christmas Spirit, but because of Christmas Commercialism.
The retailers are not going to change. Their souls were lost a long time ago. However, as humans, we have the power to determine how we respond. We need to remember that Christmas is about peace on earth and goodwill to all, not charging credit cards to the max then taking the next year to pay them off.
Somehow I don’t think that when (or if) you get to the Pearlie Gates, St. Peter is going ask you about that deal you got on that TV.