“...And thats what Christmas is all about, Charlie Brown,” Linus concludes.
Charlie Brown was mortified by the commercialization of the holiday. Indeed, his own sister wrote Santa requesting “tens and twenties.” Everywhere Charlie Brown looked, he found Christmas cheer for all the wrong reasons.
Now that Thanksgiving 2012 is behind us, I’m expecting the annual overdose on Christmas. All commercials will be holiday-themed. Their message is getting plainer and plainer, “Spend a bunch of money on our junk or you’re a crummy parent.” They pretty much come out and say it anymore.
And it starts earlier and earlier. I was seeing Christmas commercials almost as soon as I stopped seeing election commercials. Taking traditional carols and adding a product’s jingle is annoying to me. “Fa-la-la-la-la-la-buy-our-stuff.” It’s not clever or creative.
This is my first Christmas as a married man. My wife and I realize we don’t need to spend ridiculous amounts of money to show we love each other. We know that we do. We’re like everyone else and just getting by. We’ve agreed not to spend copious amounts of money, but I know she put a lot of thought into my gift. That’s what I’m anticipating more than the prospect of a new Porsche, the latest I-Thingy or a Rolex. Little gifts can and do mean more than anything else.
“A Charlie Brown Christmas” is 10 years older than I am. Sometimes, I think we find Christmas commercialization to be a new problem, but Charles Schulz must have seen it back when he wrote the special.
This was, of course, long before anyone ever heard of Black Friday. I am writing this before the annual travesty. People forget Christmas values of charity and giving and are all about greed. Stores are making employees work on Thanksgiving night anymore. Do you blame anyone for being bitter about that? Then inevitably, we’ll hear stories of people fighting over merchandise or trampling each other to get to that door buster sale.
Take a moment and remember the man’s birth we commemorate every Christmas. Would he approve of fighting over a door buster item? Would he say “Show love with expensive gifts?”
Maybe this Christmas is the time we give from ourselves. Maybe we should spend a little time with those of us who are not as fortunate by volunteering at a soup kitchen. I love this idea: Instead of giving someone an expensive gift that they may not need, why not make a contribution in a friend’s name to a group that helps feed, clothe, employ or house the needy?
Above all, remember that Christmas is a time for families. Instead of spending time waiting in line at the mall, grousing over parking or going from store to store looking for the perfect gift, spend some time at home with your family. To me, that sounds a lot better than fighting crowds and getting frustrated. Watch a holiday movie, help cook, turn off the ads on TV, maybe attend church as a family.
Working in an industry with deadlines, I am keenly aware that every moment of the day is gone as soon as its over. I’d like nothing more than to spend my valuable holiday time with my wife, my family and my friends and have memories I will cherish. That to me is worth more than any gift I could ever find under the tree. n