Christmas in July!

A blog article by Bonniejean Alford (Educator, Activist, World Citizen)

We have all heard the statement “Christmas in July,” but someday it may actually become a reality.

By this I mean that decorations for the holiday season known as Christmas seem to begin earlier and earlier each year.  I recall driving down the road at the beginning of November seeing holiday decorations.

And in all instances there is a focus solely on Christmas and not the many other religious celebrations that may take place this time of year.

What about Chanukah?  Kwanza?  Other holidays?  All overlooked and passed up by a holiday meant to glorify the birth of a baby not everyone believes in.  Quite frankly, it is down right discriminatory to exist in a society that claims to be open to a freedom of religion and then continuously participates in practices that are without question centered only in Christianity.

Don’t get me wrong.  I am a Christian, even though I also practice Buddhism.  In fact, I absolutely love Christmas and the spirit it is supposed to represent.

But the commercialism has gotten way out of hand.

Today, we live in a world where the message of the season known as Christmas is to buy, buy, and then buy some more.  This is not what is supposed to be the message.  The message is supposed to be about giving, giving, and then giving some more.

Where did the shift in society happen?

Honestly, I don’t know.

Maybe movies like A Christmas Story sparked something in society long ago leaving us with that need to have things instead of focus on the spirit of helping fellow community members.  I truly miss the feel good sentiments set forth in movies such as Miracle on 34th Street and It’s a Wonderful Life.  I imagine the world must have one day had that feeling, though it was long before my time.

I long for a time where being in the world was about giving and sharing and providing hope to all, rather than materialism to one.


173 thoughts on “Christmas in July!

  1. Although I LOVE A Christmas Story, I do agree that the true meaning of Christmas as gotten lost in translation. I personally love to give to people on Christmas, and my biggest goal, and most favorite thing to do, is make people cry (tears of joy, of course). I made my mom cry last year, and I totally didn’t expect it! It was awesome I must say. Come to think of it, my mom asked me just yesterday what I wanted for Christmas, and she gets mad because I never tell her anything. But this year I finally asked for one thing, because it was something I really needed. . . for work. haha. Anyways, I think it would be really awesome if people embraced their own religious Holidays and decorated their homes inside and out with them. Imagine, driving down the street and seeing one house decorated with Christmas lights, red and green, with Santa and reindeer. Then another house has the stars of David, and dradels, with a menora and what not. Then you pass a house for Kwanza with (I’m sorry to say I don’t know) but whatever they decorate with for their holiday. How pretty and cool would that be!

    1. I completely agree with you Dana. I believe Christmas has lost its meaning for some individuals but having the spirit is also great. I believe that people concentrate so much on gifts because they want to make that person happy. They are getting the gist of giving but do not understand the meaning behind the actual holiday, depending what religion. It would be great if people decorated their houses because I enjoy looking at the lights and family effort. Then again, I see people with a lot of money getting lights on professionally! Have some holiday spirit and get the family or friends to join to make it a pleasant event.

      1. That’s a great idea Monica! We should decorate with friends and families. I think I have seen less decorations up within the last few years. I think it would be great to see houses with different religions, because it would open up curiosity to people around us. Kids are first to look at decorations on the houses. I think they would ask they’re parents why there are different stars, etc. It could let them know that in the future maybe the religion they have been brought up with can change. It would just be great for our society, which is supposed to support freedom, to really flaunt their beliefs!

      2. I definitely agree, yet I think all the Christmas gift rush became a part of American culture. Every holiday gets twisted into something funky. Ultimately, Christmas was and still is a religious holiday that celebrates the birth of Jesus Christ. Not a major shopping spree(although it does stimulate world’s economy to a big extent), not two weeks of work, but Christ-Mass.

    2. I completely agree with you. I’d like to see more decorations that represent other religions. With only Christmas lights everywhere, it makes it seem like Christianity is the only religion. Perhaps the way someone decorates could somehow tell us more about their religion. It would show how people act in a different religion than our own on the holidays.

      1. I agree that there should be more decorations for other religions because then people could learn about other religions more. If people knew more about other religions then there might not be so much wars around the world. People would also start helping each other more often and the world could be better by it.

    3. I would have to say you are completely right. I am a christian but we have close family friend’s who are Muslim that don’t decorate a single bit when it comes to Ramadan. How come? I would say because people would drive by and think why are these people decorating for christmas now? When in reality we should be saying, I wonder what they are celebrating? Be more interested in other cultures and traditions. They should be able to show off there decorations and put up special things to show their pride for there religion. It’s only right, especially like how Bonniejean said “we are a country to be open to freedom of religion.” Then everyone should be decorating for the religion they have. There isn’t anyone stopping them and I am sure no one will. Yes they will get questions about why there are decorations, but that’s great! Let them ask and let them discuss together the significance of that special holiday to their religion.

    4. Dana, it would be a pretty sight to see all the different holidays set up outside. People need to express their culture and religion more often because it will influence others to do the same. There’s been a lot of racism throughout this country but people have been banding together to end this crisis in many ways. In this day and age, it’s hard to tell what nationality people are and what they believe in. We need to take the time and energy to get to know different people because that’s how you will expand your thinking, religion faith, education, etc.

  2. Back at the beginning of November I saw a billboard that read “53 days until Christmas.” Is that really necessary at the Beginning of NOVEMBER? It’s sad that people don’t even allow time to enjoy the wonderful holiday of Thanksgiving. I completely agree that the true meaning of Christmas is gone. Today, it’s all about the best toys or the hottest, most expensive accessories. It’s very rare to find a family that still goes to Church on Christmas. Majority are too busy opening gifts and not realizing where Christmas really originated from.

    1. I think that it is everyone’s right to do as they please for the holidays. Christians are given the opportunity to spend Christmas in churches if they please, and I feel that they should be thankful for that right rather than pester others about living their lives the way they want to. If someone deives the most pleasure out of the holidays by giving and receiving gifts, let them do that.

      1. I wouldn’t say I disagree with you Nick but I do think you may be missing a big point of this entry. Sure people have their own ways of celebrating, and there is no right or wrong way to do so. However, for those who do celebrate Christmas for religious reasons it is sad to see what the season has been made into. This also applies to those who just enjoy the season because they love the spirit of the holiday but have no religious interest in it. Holidays should not just be about getting and giving presents to no end. It is also a time for family unity and memories to be made. Instead, people get lost in the shuffle of last minute shopping and forget all about what is truly important. Even black Friday shopping has gotten out of hand; Thanksgiving night some stores opened at 8pm. That alone takes people away from their families during the holidays. Less fortunate families stress over “will I be able to buy my children Christmas gifts?” If the holidays weren’t so commercialized this wouldn’t be such an issue. So yes, let people celebrate anyway they like but the meaning of Christmas, so to speak, has been forever changed. I wouldn’t say it is for the better.

    2. I would totally agree with what Luciana has said, because everywhere I go I see advertising for Christmas. Either it’s the music or just seeing Christmas trees and the lights everywhere. Its quite sad because I love Halloween and Thanksgiving and to see the fact that most places as business or as just billboards show gifts and what great savings you can get for gifts. With this article I totally see that every year it seems to get earlier and earlier with putting up things to show Christmas. However, what gets me is that I have always learned from church and my parents is that Christmas is the time for giving and all I see is that children asking for that one toy they want or an adult asking for that hot watch or ring where things like that is expensive. I see it is that people don’t think of how much things do cost to buy those kinds of presents. Then every year my family and me go to church but seems like every year its either less and less or seeing different faces each year. I see it is that most families now either stay in and open presents or just not into the whole church thing.

  3. Guilty to admit this, but I was jamming to Christmas music the second week of November on 93.9!!!! I love Christmas music. I know that starting that music so before December is a little out of line, but I love celebrating! I think it is okay for me to sing along to Christmas carols alone in my car, because I’m not bothering others. I hate seeing any Christmas lights up before Thanksgiving. I think it is kind of disrespectful to see them lit up before a holiday that reminds us to give thanks. We need to take it one step at a time. We can blame the market industry for the lack of appreciation we have for Christmas. We all lose sight of what is important because stores are advertising the new great deals or promotions. We get greedy. It is hard to not get persuaded in a society that is so materialistic.

    1. I also love Christmas and the music. People should take holidays one step at a time because they are getting caught up in the market industry. We can’t put blame on our consumerism but they influence our actions by posting advertisement every where we look, whether you like it or not. Just like the advertisement speaker said in class, you imagine there is no manipulation because no one likes to admit they actually are influenced.

  4. I must admit that every year when Christmas time starts to roll around it takes me a little longer than most to get into the groove. I think that part of this has to do with the media overhaul that takes place as soon as we can start counting down the days to Thanksgiving. It almost feels as though I don’t have to be in the Christmas spirit right away because everyone else is doing it for me. In agreement with what was mentioned about “buy buy buy” and “give give give,” I am a firm believer that it is not about what you spend. As my friends and family hear me joke every year, “Looks like it’s going to be an Arts & Crafts Christmas this year!” Although it seems funny to say and implies a shortage of money, I truly believe it is these types of thoughtful gifts that really bring Christmas cheer to the ones we care about.

    1. This year I have been feeling exactly the same way. Hearing Christmas music in the malls, grocery stores and wherever made me sick to my stomach. Maybe it was just because I had no money to spend on people? Especially, watching people go crazy on Black Friday made me realize, maybe I need to start buying Christmas presents? Shopping on Black Friday, would have led to maxing out my credit card. There is no shame in an Arts & Crafts Christmas. Since my family is having a Game board Christmas.

      1. Black Friday is so tempting to make us shop! With the downfall in the economy, great deals and bargains seem like your best bet. When we have little money to spend and we see great sale prices, we are easily convinced to buy it. So, when you’re at the mall on that Black Friday and you’re swamped with bargains you begin to forget that you’re buying for Christmas, but just buying a gift. What I mean by this is that I feel like people just buy because it’s the norm of our society and arts and crafts may seem cheap in a materialistic based society.

      2. I must say that I agree with this completely! I have been watching people go crazy buying gifts no matter what the price is. It’s insane what people have come to expect over the years. It makes my head hurt just thinking about the amount of money people drop for just one day alone. Since when did Christmas become all about expensive gifts? Sure, Christmas is also about giving, but I agree with Monica. I think a gift that is homemade is a great idea! In fact, it’s even better to receive than a bought gift for the simple fact that it was made specifically for that person so you know it came from the heart.

      3. I get so annoyed by the Christmas music playing on the radio and in the stores in late October and November. When it comes to the radio, I simply change the channel until December arrives. I do have to go to the stores and shop so I just avoid the aisles with the way too early Christmas displays if at all possible. If the displays were reminding us to remember the reason for the season instead of buy buy buy, I probably wouldn’t mind. I worked retail when I was 16 and we didn’t put up the Christmas displays until the week of Thanksgiving. Now you see some of them before Halloween.

  5. That is true, Christmas music starts way too early! And all through the month it gets really monotonous, but I will also admit that I too was listening to Christmas music in my car on the way to work in the middle of November. I didn’t really know why to be honest, but I was getting sick of the same old music and decided to dig through my old CDs and brought out the old school Christina Aguilera xmas cd. 🙂 It was a good time, I didn’t care if I got made fun of.

    1. I got the exact same way!! Christmas music is one of my favorite things about the holiday season and I must admit that I began in early November also! I even broke out some of my old CDs as well (I played the 98 degrees Christmas CD all the time haha). But sadly that’s not how it is for everyone. People get all wrapped up in buying and get all stressed when Christmas should be a warm and happy time of the year. Getting in the spirit and being with the people you love is what I feel the holiday is all about.

  6. I have to agree that the true meaning of Christmas is fading away more and more each year. The stores are so wrapped up on selling, selling, and selling more, that people get crazy. People are all about sales and where can I get that cheaper. It is ridiculous that most families don’t go to church on Christmas anymore. I find myself every year dreading the shopping part, it should not be like that. Everyone should just enjoy the gift of family and friends and remember why we are all here. As far as celebrating other holidays, i think that is true, Christmas overshadows other holidays and it isn’t fair, not everyone celebrates Christmas. But then again, Christmas has been around for how long? It has been celebrated in America for years and years. I find it sad how most of these kids that are still young, probably won’t really know how it is to celebrate the true meaning of Christmas, the birth of Christ.

    1. Yea, I see what you mean about the whole dreading the shopping part each year. Although I do like to get all my close family and friends something for Christmas that will make them happy. It’s like a forced deadline to give someone something. People forget after Christmas that you should be generous, giving, and thinking of others all year round. Why make someone happy only one day a year? That too is something forgotten in why we celebrate holidays, not just presents, a tree, and decorating, but what they represent.

      1. Christmas should be an all year thing. Giving through out the year, not just scrambling and spending a lot just because the media influences everyone to do so. Christmas should be about making homemade gifts or doing favors for one another. Nowadays, most people are struggling financially. I know my income was cut in half. As long as I have family, friends, and I am healthy and they are happy, that’s all that matters.

      2. Exactly, I love making homemade gifts for people, especially for Valentines day and Birthdays and stuff. I mean don’t get me wrong I buy stuff for people as well (most of the time), but I love to make scrapbooks, and pictures frames for others. I would love if someone took the time and did something like that for me. I would appreciate the time they spent on it, and not how much money they spent. One of the things I hate about Christmas shopping, is trying to find perfect gifts. I never give money or gift cards, because its just so impersonal. More often than not, if you shop around you get more expensive items for less, which saves you and them money, as opposed to giving them money to spend after everything has been marked back up. Or they spend it on stupid things like going out to bars and getting wasted.

  7. We all say that the meaning of Christmas is lost through materialism. Whose fault is this? I surely can put blame on credit card companies and advertisement. Credit card companies let us spend money that we don’t have to purchase these gifts that we most likely can’t pay off right away. Also, without so much advertisement on TV and billboards we wouldn’t know much about these items or their sales. I do not think it has anything to do with religion. I am Catholic and practice Buddhism as well; I go to church both Christmas Eve and Christmas day. Still, we spend too much money on one another for presents. Why? Since technology advances, we do as well. We don’t like to settle for “OK” things, we want the best.

  8. I love Christmas, but right now it is very hard to buy gifts for everyone! But, I do have to say this year I found some awesome buys for the people I did buy for. I think that somewhere, where we lost the true meaning in Christmas, has a lot to do with how advanced our world has became technically. More and more people have become so materialistic. What would we do without cell phones? What would you do without your car? Many people take material things for granted, and the true meaning of Christmas deteriorates slowly. I would be completely happy Christmas morning with my family eating breakfast, healthy and enjoying each other every moment. Gifts are just a plus and a blessing we get on Christmas. I do love waking up Christmas morning with my boyfriend, seeing the snow, eating breakfast and spending the whole day reflecting on the year and looking at all my family members smiling and loving each other. So to everyone out there, have a healthy, safe and merry Christmas!!!

    1. This is definitely true. People have become so focused on buying gifts that they forget what Christmas is exactly about. They go out and buy and buy and buy when that shouldn’t be what we expect on Christmas. While gifts is a bonus, we shouldn’t take the holiday for granted. Personally, I don’t think getting a new lap top or cell phone should be what you look forward to on this day. It’s about being with the people you love and being grateful that they are there to celebrate it with you.

  9. Christmas has definitely lost it’s sense of purpose. It has changed entirely from a religious holiday focusing on Christianity’s view of Jesus Christ, to merely about the market for presents. The busiest shopping day of the year is black friday which is of course the day after thanksgiving. Advertising for this day has taken away from thanksgiving so much that people automatically associate thanksgiving with black Friday. Our country has begun to think entirely on making money, that morals and tradition has long since gone out the window. With the economy’s recent downturn, the money issue has magnified by far and people are searching far and wide for better deals to save their money. Presents are a gift during the holiday season and everyone is expected to fork over some money to purchase these gifts. With the stress of the economy, people have become so focused on saving their money that they tend to forget about what the holiday is really supposed to be about. It’s sad but true and I think the country needs a definite reality check to get back to the basics and get their minds off the only thing that seems to be on everyone’s minds nowadays – money.

  10. I feel too many people have lost focus of what the true meaning of Christmas really is. Christmas is a celebration of the birth of Christ and about giving back to people. Most people follow the commercialized version of Christmas which puts most of its emphasis on Santa Claus, Christmas trees, and presents than it does about the religious story and religion. By commercializing a holiday such as Christmas de-emphasizes all the other religion’s holidays even though the focus has digressed from the original religious message. I agree that the emphasis on this one holiday has gotten earlier and earlier. I have seen Christmas decorations up in some stores as early as Halloween.

    1. I think stores put Christmas items out so early just to keep us thinking, how nice we want our holiday to be and what to buy in order to make it successful. I think putting emphasis on Santa Claus, Christmas trees and presents is to bring some holiday spirit. Santa Claus is based off a Christian story, which gives a positive influence on children to be good. Purchasing presents or showing Christmas spirit will not take from your religion unless you forget to practice it.

      1. Monica, I agree with what you have to say. I go to church on Christmas day every year, so the commercialization of Christmas involving “Santa Claus” and other such things do not change how strong my beliefs are and certainly do not interfere with what I believe is the purpose of this holiday; which is to celebrate the birth of Christ. And yes, Santa DOES derive from the story of St. Nicholas and ultimately adds to the spirit of the holiday. As you said, these commercialized symbols will not take away from the religious meaning unless the foundation of your faith was not strong enough in the first place.

      2. You hit the point on the head. The point herein is about the commercialization. It doesn’t speak to a person’s faith, unless that faith is impacted by the commercialization aspect.

  11. In response to Luciana M I agree with you completely as well with a few of you others who say that Thanksgiving, well it almost doesn’t exist anymore.

    I work at Michael’s craft store and even before Halloween hit, Christmas was rolling in the door. I slowly saw it take over October and but then as soon as November came Christmas took over the store. I looked up and down the aisles while I was cleaning and found only one end cap that had Thanksgiving decorations on it. Then two weeks before Thanksgiving the Thanksgiving decorations went on clearance. This I just don’t understand because even the Halloween decorations didn’t go on clearance before Halloween was over. It’s almost disrespectful to Thanksgiving.

    To me it almost seems as though the media sees Thanksgiving as a lost cause because they can’t push material items on people, like they can on Christmas or even Halloween. Christmas has presents, Halloween has costumes and parties and Thanksgiving well, It’s a simple Holiday meant for the family and it shouldn’t be overlooked.

  12. I do believe our society as a whole has forgotten the true meaning of Christmas. I remember as a child filling out a “wish list” for my family, and i never ever asked for things that I needed. I grew up in a middle class family and I can remember getting almost everything I asked for, rather than just one or two of the items on my “wish list”. The blame cannot be placed solely on the companies advertising all the latest products. The consumers are the ones beating down the doors trying to make sure they get the items they want. Also, so many people complain about holiday shopping that it leads me to believe that they only buy gifts to keep up social statuses rather than buying gifts to spread Christmas joy.

    1. Growing up as a kid, I loved to make a Christmas list because I believed in Santa. I pictured Santa coming through the chimney with my pony that I asked for each year. I had an interesting imagination. I also never seemed to make a Christmas list unless it was to Santa, obviously until I found out there was no Santa. I would only receive three small gifts or less. Not until I grew up, my parents began to surprise me with expensive gifts such as a cell phone or computer. I guess it depends how you were raised as well.

  13. I agree with you Monica, as a kid making a list and thinking there really was a Santa. As the economy has gotten worse over the years, families may not be as wealthy as they once were, but the moms and dads still feel the need to buy nice things. They are maxing their credit cards, making it hard for them to pay them off over the year. Then our country wonders why we are in such financial mess.

    1. I just hope, that even in the time of crisis, that parents still let there kids have the imagination and opportunity to believe in Santa. It seems as though the children stop believing in Santa at a younger and younger age. Even though they may not get a truck load of toys, the joy as a kid around Christmas is priceless, and it it so worth holding on to as long as possible. And giving out to less fortunate children will help spread that joy as well.

  14. Our country was based on religious freedom. People have the right to celebrate their religion in any way they please as long as it does not break any laws. The reason there are so many decorations celebrating Christmas is because so many people in this country are christian, not necessarily because its’ the right religion (who knows?…stranger things have happened). The fact of the matter is, anyone has the right to decorate their property the way that they wish, and to praise their god the way they wish. If someone owns a store they have every right to use Christmas decorations, especially if they think it will attract customers. Their failure to utilize decorations for holidays is not discrimination, but rather their fallowing of their own religion. Why should we ask a christian to defy his religion by displaying decorations that praise what in his mind are false gods. Everyone has a right to practice religion how they see fit, and although I wish more people would concentrate on practicing the morals of their religion rather than the opportunity it gives them to buy frivolous things, I know all too well that wishes rarely come true, even if they’re prayers.

    1. The sad truth is that many people of Christian faith do not practice the morals of their religion year round, so it is no surprise that this holds true around Christmas. I believe that there are families of religions other than Christianity that celebrate the gift giving aspect of Christmas just to fit in with the norms of our society, or maybe it is because it is such a good time of the year to do some bargain shopping.

      1. It’s funny how you said that Christians may not practice their morals year round, but when Christmas comes around their more prone to doing so. But isn’t it the same for little kids. Think back to when you were 10 years old – you were most likely on your best behavior the whole month of December! Kids are so easily persuaded to obey their parents so Santa will bring their requested gifts. It is really sad that children in society can be bribed with gifts like that. Shouldn’t kids be on their best behavior all year rather than playing their cards well during the holiday season? Most young kids do not even think of Christmas as a religious holiday, but more of the time when Santa comes to town.

  15. I love Christmas time. Although, I must admit, I get very busy, very stressed and end up with little time to enjoy the simple things of the holiday season. I do not like to see Christmas decorations on display after Halloween. I love to decorate my house the weekend after Thanksgiving; I rarely shop on Black Friday.

    While I know it is a Christian holiday, I am Catholic, I celebrate Santa more than I celebrate the birth of Jesus. I have two children and Christmas has been more about the magic of them believing in Santa Clause and getting fun presents under the tree. We also love the traditions of Christmas we have carried over from my family and the new ones we are creating.
    Our favorite meal of the year, Christmas Eve and all of the seafood. We watch our favorite movie on Christmas Eve night and have a big breakfast on Christmas morning after we open presents.

    I do not, however, believe in having to advertise all of the other holidays. I do believe that if someone wanted to, they could. You rarely see decorations celebrating Jesus as much as you see Santa.

    Christmas is about giving. While retailers make it all about spending money, it does not mean that we, as consumers, have to fall for it. We can make the holiday anything we want it to be. We can start our own traditions, determine how we want to give, and how we want to decorate or not decorate at all. That is freedom to celebrate. I have my traditions and I do not impose them on anyone else, but I do invite everyone in my life to be a part of them. I also include my children in these decisions and they are paving the way for our future.

    I love the magic of Christmas. And I say Merry Christmas.

  16. I would also have to agree with this article. As time goes on, people tend to lose the true feelings as to what Christmas is all about. Around this time of year, people become so focused on buying gifts and the present aspect of it, when that shouldn’t even matter at all! Christmas is a time for family and everyone being together. It’s about giving and having everyone together whether your celebrating Christmas, Kwanza, or whatever else it may be that your religion follows. It has become so commercialized over the years and starts sooner and sooner as time goes on. I feel though that part of this is the fault of the media. The only things we ever see advertised are those that are Christmas related. You rarely see anything advertised for Kwanza or Chanukah, which I believe may cause people to think that those aren’t important to celebrate. That is not the case at all!! I think that if those holidays are something that your religion follow, then you should display it and be proud. It would be an amazing thing if one day everyone came to realize the true meaning of Christmas once again.

  17. I have been working on reducing the gift buying of Christmas for the past five years with my family. Moving certainly helped. We started new traditions for Christmas. We now draw names and have a $20-$25 limit on gifts for the extended family and because my husband and I have 6 kids together, we focus more on spending time with family instead of buying so many gifts. That’s not to say that we don’t buy our kids gifts, we certainly do that but we have drastically reduced the amount of money we spend on Christmas for each person and we focus more on sentimental items and homemade items for Christmas. Last year, my husband wrote a book about something that happened to our youngest daughter and I illustrated it and we had it published for her. She loved it. We also focus on Christmas baking and we make new ornaments for our tree each year.

    1. I agree that spending time with family should be a top priority around Christmas time. My family tradition is to have all my cousins, and their parents, over to make Christmas cookies, and when we are done we split them up amongst the families to take home and enjoy. However, I believe our society has gotten to a point where children will always associate Christmas with receiving gifts.

      1. You’re right Josh. I believe that it is the responsibility of us as parents to instill the real meaning of Christmas in our children. This is an uphill battle with the advertisers throwing the gift ideas in the kids faces every where they turn.

      2. This truly is a sad sign, but it is one that points towards the values of our society in general. In such a capitalistic system, so heavily based on competition, material things are the only values many young people recognize. So few realize the power of friendship, family, and love, which hold much greater power.

    2. I think that all of that is a great idea! People become so wrapped up in buying gifts that they don’t even care how much it is they spend. It’s ridiculous! My extended family is so big that we also do the same idea of a grab bag, but when it comes to my family I think homemade gifts are the way to go. They show so much thought and mean so much more, at least they do in my opinion. Christmas should ultimately be about spending time with family, not gifts.

      1. We can effect change and now is the perfect opportunity with the economy being the way it is. I just had a conversation with my daughter today about the economy. She said that it really sucks that the economy is the way that it is right now. I told her that there would be some good come out of it in that we would learn to appreciate the things we have and the people in our lives instead of consume consume consume. It is a perfect time for everyone to tell their families that it is time to get back to the traditional Christmas and get away from all the gifts.

      2. What a great thought! Maybe the downfall in the economy is God’s way of sending a message that buying and buying isn’t what he wants. Maybe it’s a wake up call for us. Making our own presents and baking new desserts could be a great way to make up for the twirl down in society. Parents are looking to buy their kids everything, but now is the perfect time to explain to them the true meaning of Christmas!

  18. I’m Mexican and tradition and family togetherness is the main focal point when it comes to the holidays. Christmas is a big religious event and is cherished for its ideals of togetherness, kindness, tradition, and happiness. We celebrate by having huge family parties and celebrating the true meaning of Christmas, which is the birth of Jesus Christ. We go to church on Christmas night, and if not our televisions are tuned to the service at the Vatican given by the Pope John Benedict III. I think it’s an Americanization in our media and capitalist market that turned the holidays into a big ploy for companies to make money off of.

    1. What I find interesting in this, and in many of the other comments, is the illusion of our society that Christmas is actually derived from the birth of Christ. That was part of the irony of my title, Christmas in July. Scholars have determined that it is likely that Christ was actually born in July, not December. In that light, to truly celebrate the birth of Christ as an inspiration to inspire the gift of giving to others should really be celebrated in July. Christmas, with the lights and the Santa Clause and all the trimmings we connect to the holiday is derived from pagan practices long before the technology of today’s commercials were thrust upon us unsuspecting consumers. The Pagan practices were chosen to represent the celebration of the birth of Christ (and thus that celebration moved to December) for two reasons – they had practices that would light up the darkness (such as candles and now holiday lights) and in the growing commercial society, there was a need to find a hook to get shoppers to buy more presents for people. Yes, it was indeed a marketing ploy from the get go.

      Despite all these interesting facts, the reality is, there is supposed to be a positive message in Christmas, wherever the practices came from or when Christ was really born. The message should be simple – learn to give. No more no less.

      1. Jesus was born in July? I’m shocked. All those years of going to Sunday School and reading my Bible, you would think that I would have gotten wind of that tidbit of information. It does make sense though that we celebrate His birthday on another day. We celebrate many holidays on the wrong date. I agree, learn to give to others. Giving does not have to include money, it can simply be your time.

      2. It isn’t actually a fact that the churches want to acknowledge. I couldn’t tell you why, just that scholars have determined this through archeological digs and what not. I find myself watching any documentary that has to do with Christmas and thus have learned a few things over the years on this topic. Even have one I usually show in some of my classes. Whatever day Jesus was actually born is irrelevant, because the focus should be on the celebration not what date the celebration is taking place.

      3. That was exactly my point below! Christianity does not have a monopoly on Christmas. There are figures similar to Santa Claus and holidays similar to Christmas celebrated all over he world (listed below). The part of this argument that I’m just not convinced of is the reasoning for the attack on marketing. I don’t feel my holiday experience has been tainted in any way by commercialization. In fact, I rather enjoy watching Christmas advertisements much in the way I enjoy Superbowl advertisements, they are silly and fun to watch. I feel this is simply another case of human decision scapegoating. The television cannot force you to go on a buying spree, it can only show you what is available. The decision to buy is your own, media did not make it or you.

  19. While I have also become very drained in the thought that Christmas is always advertised before November ends, making the norm for Christmas shopping to start for people you love even when you don’t have money to spend. The spirit of giving is what December is all about. Black Friday was just a mess and I was in it with my daughter shopping early to gain a cheaper price so I could buy for my close family members. People were everywhere, thinking the same as us, the early bird gets the warm. The biggest advertisement came from television and Sales papers.

  20. I totally agree with this blog. I have also found that with every year that passes the true meaning of Christmas seems to diminish from people’s minds more and more. Now everyone is more concerned about sales, sales, sales! It’s sickening to see that this year people seemed to just forget about Thanksgiving altogether. I can remember when I was a child and I used to watch the movie Miracle on 34th Street and think to myself ‘wow, Christmas really is about giving and about being with the ones you love not about material things and about who has the coolest toy’. Well, to a certain extent, as a kid material things were important, but still. Everyone needs to stop worrying about Christmas shopping and all the holiday parties and just be thankful for their loved ones and for all of their friends that they have in their lives. I also agree that we need to see more then just Christmas decorations up. There’s several different holidays that are celebrated around this time of year and I think it would be very cool if people had more of a chance to experience and learn about holidays other then Christmas.

  21. Let me begin by saying that I agree that the holiday season has become all too materialistic. The focus has turned from compassion and family to the acquisition and distribution of mere things. What I do not understand is the issue with seeing an abundance of Christmas decorations. Christians cannot be faulted for celebrating their own traditions and the prevalence of these types of decorations is simply a reflection of the religious demographics in our society. If there were suddenly a massive increase in practicing Scientologists in the United States of America, would anyone take issue with unbalanced showings of Christian and Buddhist holiday decorations?

  22. To me, Christmas is a time where I am more joyful and want to spend more time with the family. I don’t know why but every time Christmas comes around I am always in a good mood because it is such a fun and joyful time and I think that a lot of people get excited for this and start decorating early. Christmas is a time for the family to come together and enjoy their time. Now I know a lot of it is about the presents and what not, but my favorite part of Christmas is seeing and spending time with both sides of my family, I could care less about the presents.

  23. It’s funny that the “Christmas in July” statement was said. I can definitely relate to it. The last couple years my family has taken vacations around Christmas time. Therefore, we really didn’t have money to get gifts. We actually have had a “Christmas in July.” We would set a date a few months after our vacation and have a summer Christmas. This was so everyone was financially OK to buy gifts for others. I agree that Christmas is about giving, but doesn’t giving meaning buying? To me it does. My mom always said, “Do not get me anything, just show me you love me.” That might be OK with her, however I want to physically give her something to show her my appreciation. The best part of Christmas to me is seeing a loved ones face when you buy an awesome gift for them. Something that they never expected. Yes, this is buying but to me buying is giving and I am OK with that.

  24. I understand where you are coming from, but the fact is that the majority of Americans are Christians. I agree the sense of Christmas is starting to turn into a frenzy of buying gifts instead of the true meaning. However, I do not think it is discriminatory to display decorations. If other religions want to display decorations they should and some do. The country is what it is today because we are free to express ourselves as freely as possible.

  25. I agree that the true meaning of Christmas is gone and I do not think it will come back anytime soon. Christmas is a time to celebrate the birth of Christ but everyone just can not wait to go and get the deals at the store. When I went Christmas shopping this past Christmas people are so ignorant and greedy. They push and shove just to get a material item. I mean come on is it really that serious, I’m sure your child is not going to be that disappointed if you do not get them everything they asked for. I understand it is nice to get gifts from people and give gifts but people should stop and think about what Christmas really is. Instead of going out and buying a bunch of material items just invite your family and friends over to spend time together. I really do not find a problem with people decorating for Christmas because that shows your holiday spirit but people shopping at the stores and acting like maniacs needs to have a little more thought put into it.

  26. In one way, buying gifts for others and decorating for Christmas is an expression of the ‘holiday spirit’, but it can also hinder it by placing too much emphasis on material goods. In recent years, with the increased commercialization of Christmas, I have noticed an increased, albeit small in comparison to Christmas, commercialization of other holidays such as Chanukah and Kwanza. I am concerned as to what that says about the world society if religious holidays such as Chanukah and Kwanza also become commercialized. Perhaps Christians are becoming more accepting of other religious celebrations, leading the way for more symbols of other faiths to be in stores, which would be great, but I don’t believe that is the case. It also could be that other faiths are succumbing to the commercialism that was previously thought to be only a ‘Christmas’ fad.

  27. I totally agree with the author that Christmas is a festival to celebrate and to spread the message of love and to take care of the ones who are needy. But one thing I didn’t get that why we lost the main idea of Christmas when we are buying the things?
    For me it is a way that families get together and by having dinner at the same table and giving gifts to each other we are increasing our love and that is also the message of Christmas. when we buy the stuff only then we would be able to give to others.
    Even if we give only to our family members the Christmas is fulfilling its role because it is promoting that families should get together and have fun and give gifts.
    We also have Eid celebration and I personally see Eid and Christmas the same way: they both represent the same meaning to us which is very important to our society.

  28. I disagree, when I was growing up there was three streets, about four blocks on each street, that every house was lit up with lights. We used to go as a family every year to look at them. As I got older, every year there would be less and less houses that decided to put decorations up. This year when I went I think there was maybe three houses on each block that had lights. I do, however, agree with the fact that Christmas really is just about presents. I think the reason that people might not be as festive in the past years is because the economy has been so bad. If people can’t afford to get presents then they don’t want to celebrate at all.

    1. I agree that the amount of decorating has gone down drastically in the last couple of years. I don’t think it is wrong to deocorate for Christmas at all. In fact, I miss seeing decorations because I feel that that is part of getting people into the Christmas spirit. I wonder if people have stopped decorating, in addition to the poor economy, is due to money going toward presents or a lack of time. In addition the types of decorations have changed drastically. In the 1950s it was candles in the windows and popcorn strings. Now, it is huge blow-up snowmen and moving reindeer. The change in decorations have also raised the cost of Christmas.

      1. That is an interesting concept. The change in decorations from generation to generation is something that many people may overlook. Decorating in the past was much cheaper than it is now days, and maybe that is what is deterring people from the festive spirit. The costly effect Christmas has on families is often looked at negatively. I think people need to be more creative about their decorating habits, as apposed to buying the latest high tech decorations to string up around the house. Christmas is not about the decorations, at least in my opinion it’s not. If people really want to decorate their houses for Christmas, they can save money by going with cheaper alternatives, and getting more creative with their options for the holidays.

  29. Christmas in July sounds good. Christmas for society has become one of the expensive holidays of all times. Society has use these holiday as a way to help out the economy I think. I don’t know what this country has to do to bring the holidays season back instead of wasting money and more money on a beautiful holiday. Christmas for me in Mexico was one of the best holidays because over there is just enjoy it with the family and friends. We didn’t have to worried about the anything. Other religions that don’t believe in god provably laugh at us and at our wallets when we check them after Christmas. Some people do go over board with the holidays and some religions too. Even though I love Christmas I would love to spend it with my family rather than expended on my family.

  30. I agree that Christmas is getting celebrated a little bit to early and that the meaning behind christmas is gone. The point of Christmas isn’t even supposed to be about recieving or giving but about the birth of Christ. I work at Best Buy and it baffles me how children in this day in age act about materialistic items. I know one day when I become a parent I’ll want to by them the gifts they would like but there is no way I would make myself or someone else stand in like for 48+ hours to achieve that goal. It is a unnessasary act of desperation for what? a Nintendo DS. Nine year olds are asking for items that are over hundred dollars and EXPECT to recieve it under the tree. Our generation needs to tame down the attitudes of the up and coming generation or else it’s going to get out of control .

    1. I agree that today’s youths need to be tamed down, and expect more reasonably priced gifts. Although I do not believe that there is no longer a meaning to Christmas. The meaning of Christmas has simply changed, much like society experiences changes. Granted, it’s meaning has not changed for the better, but we may have to accept the change regardless of whether or not we wanted it. The social location of Christmas changes every single year. With more advances in technology, people always try to improve things, even if they don’t need the improvement. Christmas is one of those things that did not need to be mended, but people did it anyway. It will be difficult to bring back the original meaning of Christmas to families that have welcomed the new change, but it is possible. It all relies on the parent’s willingness to support the traditional meaning of Christmas. This is an issue, not an individual trouble. If the original tradition of Christmas was going to return, everyone would have to have the same view, which is highly unlikely.

  31. I don’t believe that it’s fair how you are portraying the Christian faith. Celebrating Christmas is their ritual for the celebration of their belief how can anyone say that a religious ritual no matter how common it is can be discriminating against other religions. Granted the other religious rituals are often subtle in their way, but its exactly that, their way. How can an individual question the motives behind someone else’s belief. Just because one religion’s rituals are extravagant and other are subtle, each have their way of doing things and who can be say that which is the right or the wrong way of doing it. Maybe this wasn’t the way you wanted to sound, but nevertheless that is how this posting came off to me.

  32. That is very true. I think big corporations are doing it for the money. They just put out ads everywhere and talk about how great Christmas is to make everyone feel apart of something, and if you don’t get this certain toy for Christmas you will be bad. At least for me, every time i see a friend after Christmas. The first thing they ask or want to know is what you got, or how many presents you got. I tell them i got only one and they say how bad my parents are or how unlucky I am. I don’t even get mad for them saying that. I know my parents love me and they don’t have to by me really expensive things or a cool new gadgets. As long as I get to spend time with my family and take time to help others, that what a perfect Christmas is too me.

  33. I believe that it is because Christmas is a religious based holiday that it has changed so much. We want so badly to live in a society that we can say is considerate to others religions and beliefs but that is just the problem. It is not acceptable to wish somebody a “Merry Christmas” in a public place. Children are even discouraged from celebrating this holiday in school because it is not fair to all children that do not practice. To encompass all people, it is now “Happy Holidays”. This is where the holiday ‘spirit’ has gone. People are so afraid to celebrate their holiday as to be careful to not offend anybody. So instead of focus on the religious aspects that tend to put people in a merry state of mind, the focus has shifted to something anybody can enjoy, gift giving. I believe that the frenzy of shopping and buying has stemmed from people trying so hard to celebrate their holidays without being outwardly offensive to anybody, because everybody does it.

  34. I for one agree with this article, Christmas is a holiday that was supposed to a time to get together with a person family and celebrate whether religious or not. The commercialization of the holiday is way to out of hand anymore and that goes with any holiday that we celebrate in America. Not only in the sense of putting it in our faces for all to see be the slavery type hours that stores put their employees through. Do people really need to be out shopping at midnight after Thanksgiving? I this still gets me every year. I don’t even think that it is the deals that people want I think its the monkey see monkey do attitude that America has going.

  35. I am not entirely sure that Christmas is Christmas anymore. What it seems to be is a national holiday about buying unnecessary junk for people and receiving unnecessary junk from other people. Businesses love it, because every Black Friday people trample each other, in their local Best Buy and Wal-Mart to purchase unnecessary junk, for that one niece who wanted that purple case to complement her I-Phone because she wanted to make her friends jealous. I am an atheist and my parents are protestant, while they keep guilt tripping me every Christmas to go to mass with them, I refuse. Now I have no problem celebrating Christmas even though, I highly dislike seeing the rest of my family and I never make Christmas lists, mainly because I don’t see Christmas as a religious holiday anymore. Even though Christ is directly in the name, Christmas seems more to be a commercial holiday, just like Valentine ’s Day is just a hallmark holiday.

  36. Our society is open to all religions, but the majority of our country is christian. So it’s not surprising that some aspects and traditions of our society are based on christian beliefs. To Christians, Christmas is a time to celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ. But to the rest of our society, it is just a time to be kind to one another, to reflect and think about all the great things, and be with the people you have in your life; I believe that this also comes from Christianity. Yes, some people today take Christmas the wrong way, and look at it all about obtaining material objects. Devoted Christians do also give gifts, but its for a different purpose. Giving gifts is supposed to be a way to show someone you care for them and love them. If our society is starting to focus too much on the gifts other than the true spirit of Christmas, than in my opinion, it is because people in the united states are losing their faith, or it is just becoming weaker.

  37. People have forgotten about what Christmas is all about. Christmas has become a time of franticly running from mall to mall looking for the perfect present, instead of giving back to the community and helping out the less fortunate. I believe people have forgotten the true meaning of Christmas in part because of all the advertisements on television promoting buy, buy, buy. Sadly I must admit that I am guilty of getting caught up in the moment and forgetting that Christmas should be a time where we help others in need. Although I feel that we should be doing this on a daily basis as well. It seems that people have become more and more all about themselves these days. Children are becoming more and more selfish because of the way they are being brought up. Society has become more worried about money and materialistic things because those are what the overall society believes is most important now days.

  38. Is Christmas really about Christ nowadays? Or is it about the buying and unwrapping gifts. Christmas is a celebration of how materialistic society is, and the sooner you see lights and hear music the more eager we are to get our greedy little hands on our gifts. It is basically a reincarnation of a pagan holiday anyway. I wouldn’t worry too much about it if I were you. Also the majority of this country is Christian, and it even shows on our money. The way they choose to market and celebrate their holiday is up to them.

  39. I agree that the commercialization of Christmas has gotten out of hand. Halloween and Thanksgiving haven’t even occurred yet, and I’m already seeing Christmas stores appear in malls. While I have nothing against wanting to shop for gifts earlier in year so that one can spend the actual Christmas season with their loved ones instead of shopping, I’m not ready for stores about decorations yet. I feel that Christmas should focus more on spending time with your loved ones, not on the giving and receiving of gifts. Not only is Christmas in July taking focus from other religious holidays at its season, it seems to allow for Christmas to take the focus of other holidays that occur before the Christmas season. Will Christmas in July continue as time passes, or could the current recession maybe cause the holiday to lose some of its commercialism and regain its true meaning?

  40. I completely agree with your post. Christmas is getting out of control; it’s as if Thanksgiving and Halloween don’t even have any meaning anymore! People have also forgotten the meaning of Christmas. It is about celebrating the birth of Jesus, not fighting over who gets the best present under the tree. Christmas is also becoming violent; half the people who go shopping on Black Friday just want to get their Christmas shopping done early, and look how many injuries/deaths there are on that day! People need to focus on all of their religious celebrations, not just the one that involves the most gifts.

    1. I agree that Christmas is out of control, and that people need to tone it down a little bit. I would disagree with you, however, when you say that, “it’s as if Thanksgiving and Halloween don’t even have any meaning anymore!” First of all, people have their own right to celebrate Thanksgiving. That holiday was created by people being thankful that they were able to survive hostile environments from the help of native Americans. This holiday has nothing to do with religion. Second, I could ask almost anyone I know, and they would not know the true meaning of Halloween. People don’t focus on the meaning of these holidays, they are just focused on thanking people on Thanksgiving, and getting candy and dressing up on Halloween. These traditions have not changed in the slightest for quite a long time. Christmas on the other hand HAS changed dramatically. Christmas means more to people than Thanksgiving and Halloween do. This has generally been the case for a substantial amount of time.

  41. I agree that it is getting ridicules with how earlier and earlier Christmas is getting and how it seem to be starting at the beginning of November. I think that it is a huge scam by the big companies to get people into stores and start buying sooner. However, I can’t blame them if I owned a business I would do the same thing. It stated with days like Black Friday and Cyber Monday when stores are opening earlier and staying open later. People rushing the idea Thanksgiving because they need to get to bed early so they can go out shopping. Thanksgiving is a time to be with your family and give thanks but it seem to be getting brushed under the rug due to the shopping.Not only is it throwing away the idea of Thanksgiving but it is also making people who work for these companies have to work long hour shifts that they could be spending with there families forgetting the whole spirit of the holidays.

    I love the Christmas and the holiday season but I do believe it some what gets out of hand. We all have to remember it is better to give then receive. We should not overlook the other holidays as well being in American we should try and recognize them. But I do think that if big changes were to take place then people would start to miss the whole feeling of the Holiday season.

  42. This is so very true! Not only is it well put together but it also plays a role in many other religions. What I’m saying is that I’m a Muslim, and I can honestly say this goes for us too. Our holidays known as the “Eid” should be about giving to the poor but yet we don’t because we buy things for our family members and share our gifts. We give money to each other but yet we don’t for the less fortunate. Reading this was an eye opener because I do notice people putting up Christmas lights early November in my neighborhood. I think people take things for granted and don’t really understand the concept of holidays. Young kids need to be taught early about the true meaning of holidays so we understand the true beautiful meanings of them instead of the other way around. I really enjoyed this blog entry.

  43. It’s a shame what the holidays have turned into. I fully agree that commercialism of the holiday’s have gotten way out of hand. People don’t even seem to acknowledge the principles on which Christmas was based on. I read an article on The Onion (a fake newspaper) titled, “42 Million Dead in Bloodiest Black Friday Weekend on Record.” While I found the article to be humorous, I also felt like this article represented something not far from the truth. During the times of the holidays, we’re supposed to be friendly, giving, helping, and appreciate our family, and yet we have an unofficial holiday called “Black Friday.” “Black Friday” is a relatively new concept in American history as it was started in the late 60s. It seems to me that in this context, the word “black” represents hate, evil, and pretty much everything bad. How can we promote giving, when our society is heading so far in the wrong direction?

  44. Christmas is my absolute favorite holiday. I spend quite a lot of time and energy helping my family get ready for the holidays over thanksgiving break each year, but the decorations just help to remind us that it’s a time to give back. The earlier they are up, the longer the giving spirit lasts in our house. For us, Christmas has always been more about family time and the true meaning of the season, than commercialism. Wishlists must always include a goal to help others at the bottom. We have to remember that there is more to the holidays than just pleasing ourselves. For my family, it’s nice to give as much as we receive, if not more.

  45. Christmas is my favorite season of the year! I love walking into the stores and seeing all the decorations and listening to the Christmas music playing, but I have to agree the meaning behind it all has truly diminished. Thanksgiving does not even stand a chance any more seeing that major retail stores are now open at 6pm on Thanksgiving for Black Friday shopping (its called Black Friday for a reason…so it takes place on Friday, not Thursday). This season should be about family, friends, peace, love, and most importantly Jesus Christ. Without him there would be no Christmas. I know not everyone is Catholic and celebrates Christmas in this country, but no one is forcing you to go out and take part in the shopping or the “frenzy” of Christmas if you do not want too. It should be about the celebration of life and the gift Jesus has given to us, not about the gifts we give each other.

    1. Thank you Vanessa! Someone who understands the true meaning of Christmas! Jesus Christ is the reason we have this holiday in the first place and half the population doesn’t even bother to acknowledge that. I’m not going to preach about JC but we’ve fallen so far from what the holiday was intended to represent. We’re so obsessed with making Christmas so perfect for our family that we forget to love our family in the process. I have heard arguments break out between family members on who bought a better present for one another… really? This seems so twisted and backwards from what was originally intended for the holiday.

  46. Christmas has always been an amazing time for me. I love that everyone always seems to be happy and in a better mood. But for some I think that this is also changing. Christmas is not about how many present you get or who got the better present. Every year my family and I go to church on Christmas eve night for mass. But that seems to be the only time that we are truly thinking about the “real” meaning behind Christmas. Every Christmas I see on Facebook posting pictures of what they got and saying how happy they are for getting a certain thing. But what I don’t see anyone posting is the things they are happy for in life or the things that they are grateful for. I also realized that people have started saying happy holidays instead of marry Christmas. Personally i think that is strange because I grew up with saying marry Christmas was the right thing to say, and now people are getting offended by people saying it. I think that growing up I didn’t take the time to realize the other holidays that were taking place. But still now i say merry Christmas to people not to offend them but because that’s how I’m used to saying it. Just like if someone came up to me and said happy Hanukkah i would not get offended because that’s what they believe it is.

  47. I could not agree more the holidays are about spending time with your families and giving to others. However the problem in my eyes is the parents fault for spoiling their kids and not showing how the holiday should really be. They just get a ton of toys each year while not giving up anything. What they should be taught is that they need to buy a toy for there brother or sister and grandma and cousins and show them that its about making others happy and when you do that than they will repay the favor. Christmas is getting out of hand and unfortunately i am a part of it. Here’s a quick little story about me a month ago at Kohls. I got free Kohls cash for 20 bucks so I went to go pick out something for my brother for Christmas. I only went because I had the 20 bucks. The day must have been like November first or second and right when I walked in I hear “rudolf the red nose randier” I could not believe it. After I found something for my brother I went to the front and asked how long they have had the music going for. She said they had it going before Halloween! They got the stuff to make the store look all Christmasy in August. So it was nearly a Christmas in July for Kohls.

  48. The ideals of Christmas outside of gifts is great, but the spending and the presents have taken it over. Christmas has also diminished the other holidays. I see it every day at work now. I have to wish people “happy holidays!” and often i will get back, from the costumer, “no it is merry Christmas.” and they will smile and walk away like it was cute. but I find it extremely disrespectful, and ethnocentric to other peoples believes. These people don’;t know me, and I am one of the few people that don’t wear a Santa hat at this time of the year because I find it disrespectful to people. I also see what you mean with the ideals that the media gives. Was Jingle all the way, and if the seen where there is the bum rush for the toy if that is not symbolic of what people think the holiday is about now.

  49. People often forget in our overly globalized world the true meaning behind holidays. I personally am agnostic but I do, just like the author, wish a world of giving instead of recieving during the holidays.

    But I can’t say that I was raised in a family that focused on the importance of giving. Ever since I can remember, my youth was always filled with christmas lists, and the excitement of recieving. But as the years have gone on, I have grown to realize the turn for the worse that the holiday season has taken.

    I agree with the fact that Chritmas almost denies many other holidays of the lime light, and this may derive not just from social issues. With an increase ever year in black friday sales, the “Christmas spirit” has been diminished by advertisments galore. The economy thrives during the winter months off of the purchases made during black friday sales for gifts, and it is now hard for America to imagine a Novermber without it.

    I think that there is one extremely important aspect while looking at the change from holiday spirit, to want, want, want. This change is parenting. If parents started focusing on the meaning of holidays, and the spirited traditions and values that they hold now and throughout history, then maybe there would be a push away from the recieving side of this commerical holiday.

    But overall, it ultimately comes down to how you raise your children. The ideas and values that are indirectly or directly planted into the minds of our youth set them up for the rest of their lives. So when you start to review the long list of presents that your child is expecting, then the only person to blame is you, the parent.

  50. What is so funny about this post is that the truth it possesses is scary. I live in Oak Brook, and there are a few houses that actually COMPETE each year with Christmas light decoration displays. They hire professional lighting companies in hopes that people will drive by in awe. I do want to specify that I do agree with Prof. Bonniejean in that a lot of other religious celebrations are underrepresented, but ultimately members of society have the choice whether or not they decorate their homes and offices in accordance with their beliefs. Moving on, I do believe that I am guilty of feeding into this wrong translation of what we now call Christmas. I find myself STRESSING over making enough money to buy items for friends and family because Christmas is all about materialistic possessions right? I don’t think that society will ever see fit for a change in our mindset on something that shouldn’t even necessarily be celebrated by all, because after all it is a celebration in the CHRISTIANITY religion.

  51. Though I am not a Christian, I have celebrated Christmas since I was a child. To me it’s not about the religion or anything in relation to that. It’s a holiday that my family has adopted because of the culture we are surrounded by. The holiday still holds meaning in my family that is greater than gift giving. It is the only time of the year that all four of my family members are together at the same time. My brother lives in Missouri and can only make it out on the rare occasion, such as Christmas. However, I have noticed the shift of priorities that has occurred in the American culture. More and more emphasis has been placed on buying each other gifts. It has given Christmas a new meaning, and it may stay this way because this is how our younger generations (including mine) will continue to celebrate it. To me, this time of year should be spent being thankful for one another, no matter what religion. It should be about giving and not receiving.

  52. Christmas is my favorite holiday but I feel it has become so commercialized. It is no longer about just spending time with family and friends but merely it has become a time for the retail market to make their largest profits for the year. Every year I go to stores with Thanksgiving is just barely coming to an end, and stores are already advertising for Christmas with the holidays deals and sales. Growing up all though I do remember receiving presents as a child, what i really enjoyed was my family coming together to celebrate the holidays not as a time for gifts but for what it really was about. I think people today need to appreciate the holidays and the holiday season. They need to be thankful for family and appreciative of what they have that others do not.

  53. I agree with the fact that Christmas has become simply just a holiday, people just celebrate it for the gifts and not for its actual purpose. Many countries now celebrates this holiday as well, not because they know that it is a celebration for the birth of Christ Jesus, but because of the fact that it comes from a “superior society” (didn’t want to use this phrase, but this is how people view the western world sometimes). Due to the fact that America had been such a strong country, their tradition and culture have certainly made its way around the world. I celebrated Christmas too in China but simply for the fun and exitment. I did not understand its true meaning until I came to America and went to a church. It is really easy for us humans to lose the true meaning of things, but it is necessary to remember certain ones that may pretain to our identity.

  54. I love Christmas time and the music plus the decorations that goes with it. I do agree with the fact of the true meaning of Christmas in this society. My family goes way overboard with the decorations because my dad feels like he needs to have the best decorations, but our decorations are mostly inside of the house. I feel like all my family really cares about his getting and giving gifts. We do not really focus on what the true meaning of it is. Back in grammar and high school all my sisters and I cared about was getting off school and getting presents. We did not really care about the time we will be able to spend with one another.

  55. My mom’s favorite movie is “Its A Wonderful Life.” I remember her telling me about how it expresses the true meaning of Christmas. I do believe that society has changed its meaning to whats more important is gifts from him or her. My family has gone three years without Christmas, as in no tree, lights, dinner or presents. These years have given me a new insight on whats important which is my family. Surprisngly I did not lose my head when I found out we were skipping Christmas. Now I don’t even see it as a necessity because I know what matters. Though I LOVE the season and the holiday, it is possible to go without it.

  56. I would like to start off by saying I truly enjoyed reading this article. For a moment I thought I was the only one who noticed Christmas decorations earlier and earlier. On the other hand, to answer your question maybe if everyone came together to decorate, or even bake cookies for the holiday everyone would be able to take their minds off of just receiving gifts and actually go out and do something better for other people.

  57. I completely agree with what you are saying. I’ve actually thought the same thing before. If we were really trying to keep the idea of a separate “church and state”, then there wouldn’t be specific holiday decorations hung in public areas (like the light posts) by the state. It makes it seem as if everyone is celebrating Christmas when in fact that is not true. I think that it has something to do with trying to convince others into a religion. But, I also think that it relates to the media and commercialism a lot as well. In fact, the holiday seasons and commercialism are intertwined because those are the times that they make the most money. Advertising for material items instead of the true meaning of the holidays is the way that businesses attract customers and take away the true meaning of the holiday season. I think that the way we would get back to that old fashioned idea, like in Miracle on 34th Street, is to regulate the media and advertising more so that they don’t overshadow the true meaning of the holidays. This could also help to eliminate the fact that only one holiday seems to be ‘celebrated’ and more apparent than the rest.

  58. I believe that the shift in the focus on traditional Christmas spirit to the focus on presents and spending money over the holidays has definitely changed drastically over time. I think the reason for the huge change in focus is due to the increased use of technology and the media, and the way children today are socialized compared to decades ago. Children today often watch more TV, which means they see commercials and ads for new toys, and parents continue to buy, buy, buy these expensive presents for their children in order to make them happy. But the fact that these presents are what’s making children happy is not right. Christmas is a time to be jolly and spend time with your family, people shouldn’t care or worry about what they get for Christmas. The focus on presents compared to the true meaning of Christmas has changed, and I’m not sure if there is any way of going back.

  59. I too agree with that the whole idea of Christmas has gotten a little twisted. It is now about the who can buy the biggest and best stuff. It is about who can wait in line for 8 hours outside of Best buy to get the deal. It does get pretty crazy. My family is not really religious even though Christmas was traditionally to celebrate Christ we give it a different meaning. When we were younger we were so concerned with what we would get for Christmas but now that my siblings and I have grown up we are more worried about just getting everyone under the same roof to eat and play board games. We seriously have more fun just listening to music and watching Elf while we eat Christmas cookies. I think that it is up to everyone to remember that it is the season to spend time with family and friends that you don’t get to always see. It is up to everyone to decide to make that choice about what really matters and to start teaching their kids the same to prevent them from losing sight of what really matters.

  60. It’s very obvious to me as to why Christmas keeps on getting pushed back. It’s a very popular holiday simply because it gives people the chance to buy stuff for themselves or even expect gifts from other people simply because it’s just that time of the year. Because people love the holiday, companies are very eager to encourage people to embrace starting the Christmas season as early as humanly possible. It isn’t really because we have become more greedy. This has been a problem with humanity for an extremely long time. Movies as old as the Christmas story show us being eager to get material gifts in exchange for our very existence. And, honestly, there’s really nothing wrong with that. The problem is, primarily, our willingness to accept the holiday being pushed back and the corporations gleeful acceptance of our willingness. The longer Santa laughs, the longer they stay in the black.

    1. I agree that companies are really trying to take advantage of the fact that they know people spend more money around the holidays. They start putting decorations out months ahead of time. Also the special “early bird” or “weekend blitz” sales are other gimmicks that are used to manipulate people into spending more. I agree that the companies are trying to just keep their businesses afloat but it is our responsibility to not get sucked into this madness. We need to recognized marketing ploys and be tricked.

  61. I completely agree with everything said in this article. A lot of people nowadays just don’t get the real message of Christmas, even though they may say they do. It’s your actions that tell you what you believe. I remember thinking last Christmas how much I wished I could meet more people that don’t give a crap about gifts but give loads of crap about other people and spending time with them and sharing the good feelings and bliss that Christmas brings. I personally try to celebrate it not as a Christian, but as a person that wants to be around family and see who I haven’t seen since the year before. You don’t have to be Christian for that. And another thing, kids nowadays are seriously driving me insane with Christmas. I want this, I want that, give me everything mom and dad because its Christmas. No. It is some parents though, there is a difference between celebrating the holidays and absolutely splurging on gifts for the kids when they don’t even know or care about the real meaning of this special Holiday. That’s how they become what’s called unthankful. And then we wonder why.

  62. Nicole, I like that you say you celebrate Christmas not necessarily as a Christian but as someone who wants to spend time with friends and family you don’t see often. I think that people who get offended that Christmas is only for Christians are missing out on the spirit of the whole season. Sure Christmas originally started as a religious holiday but the a lot of the things it symbolizes can be seen in other religions too. There is a spirituality that should come with that time of year that doesn’t have anything to do with Jesus or expensive gifts.

    1. Yes that’s exactly what I’m saying. You really don’t even have to believe in anything to be a good person, so why would you be religious to celebrate a holiday that’s for everyone.

  63. This is so true. All of our commercials and advertisements during the so called “holiday” season are focused mainly on Christmas. The fact that they already focus it on only Christmas is bad in itself, but also many people don’t even know why they are celebrating Christmas. Many non Christians and atheists celebrate Christmas and that is completely hypocritical. The United States is so diverse and multicultural that it’s insulting that the media mainly focuses on Christmas when there really are so many holidays that deserve the same amount of attention. We especially don’t hear anything about Muslim holidays. I am lucky enough to have a very diverse group of friends and have learned a lot about different cultures. One of my best friends is Muslim it seriously makes her day when me and her other non Muslim friends shoot her a text saying, “Eid Mubarak!”, or “Happy Ramadan!” because non of these holidays are advertised or talked about in mainstream media.

    1. I don’t necessarily agree that celebrating Christmas makes you a hypocrite if you are not a regular church goer. I think that if you only choose to enter a church or place of worship on holidays and call yourself a devout Christian or Catholic or whatever you identify as then that would make you a hypocrite. I myself am agnostic and I celebrate Christmas with my family. We don’t go to church and praise baby Jesus but we volunteer and help people who are less fortunate and we spend time with each other. I think Christmas has evolved past the purely religious event that it used to be. I like learning about other cultures as well. One of my best friends is Jewish and we exchange Hanukkah gifts and eat tradition food that her family makes. I don’t think that people don’t want to know about other religions it’s just that they aren’t heard enough about. I wish more people who celebrate different holidays would talk about it and decorate for them and not be mad that its not the majority. Like your friend sharing her culture with you, if we talked more openly about it then maybe these religions would become more mainstream.

  64. It is very interesting to think of how the idea of Christmas had changed in some drastic ways over the years. What used to be a cheerful holiday for appreciating family and friends has turned into another chance to stimulate the economy. Certainly we can see a correlation with the advancements of the media and the growing amount of money the average family spends on Christmas presents each year. As the media’s influence grows, so does our idea that we need even more so, and more of, extravagant things. It is a sad truth because we can see right before our eyes the effects that it’s having on things like our family values. An innocent holiday that was once the intention of quality family time has spawned into the product of the ugly grasp the media holds over our dreams of an aesthetic based lifestyle. I fear that this influence will have an even greater effect on the kids who will learn to grow up with this illusion of Christmas, and will then pass down the idea to their children and future generations, thus only repeating this downwards spiral.

  65. I absolutely agree that our society focuses on one holiday that not everybody celebrates. And beyond that, the majority of our society focuses selfishly on the things that benefit them during this season. People are so wrapped up in receiving gifts and things that they forget what the holiday season is truly about. I am a nanny, so I spend a lot of my time watching the Disney Channel, Nickelodeon and other things such as these. Lately, I have noticed the commercials on these channels advertising and showing charity work and things of the sort. These channels show the stars of the television shows participating in charities. These things make helping others appealing to the younger generations. It is nice to know that the media is trying to get their audiences out there helping others, especially during the holiday season, regardless of what holiday is celebrated. They’re trying to bring back the true meaning of the season. To give.

    1. I think that it is important for these channels to show kids that helping others is important. I’m surprised really that they have focused more on this topic. However I think that it is fair to say that these channels also are responsible for making kids want expensive gifts in the first place. Obviously it is not just a TV shows job to give a kid morals but If this is the main media source for young kids who don’t yet use internet or social networking then TV has a big role in what they will expect and want. They see these glamorous young people with nice home, expensive clothes, and cool cars. They idolize the celebrities in these shows and want to be just like them. Also the commercial advertising on these kids stations is amazing. Everything from video games, iPods, toys, DVDs…these advertisers know what they are doing. Kids see these things over and over and that is a large part of the reason they ask for more and more material possessions. I don’t think that the TV stations are evil but they are running a business and trying to make a profit. They are doing a great job of that for sure.

  66. I totally agree. I feel like the meaning of Christmas is lost. So many people are wanting gifts for themselves instead of wanting to give gift to others, or even volunteering and giving back to society around the holidays. I feel like people also forgot about the true meaning of Christmas from the religious aspect of things. I think media has a lot to do with this also. Around the holidays all you see on TV are toys and gifts making children wanting all these things. One of my clients makes her children go through their toys right before Christmas and pick a certain amount of toys out to give away to children that need them more then they do. I love that idea because I really think it shows the kids that giving is important also.

  67. You couldn’t of stated this better. This is true on so many levels that many people skip over other holiday’s such as Thanks Giving. I believe it was just last year this happened, thanks giving was jus around the corner maybe a month away and when you walk into story or even past houses they already have up christmas decorations as if this holiday no longer exist. In the world around us they may have become very selfish, with the hoiliday such as christmas it is suppose to be focused on giving back in a way not just recieving nice gifts and returning it the next day, it is suppose to be about apperication to those around us. I may not have been around or know if this still exist but I know there was a such thing as caroling, a group of singers going around singing to those around to maybe lift up there spirit. Christmas is about alot of things such as giving back and appericating what you have but the whole nature of the real meaning of christmas is lost in away but not forgotten.

    1. This year, many stores were open on Thanksgiving day to extend Black Friday sales. I know people personally who had to leave in the middle of dinner to go work on Thanksgiving. That’s insane and incredibly unfair. You’re right. Many holidays are getting swallowed whole by the great consumer Christmas beast. My family and I all boycotted Black Friday shopping this year because of the Thanksgiving day sales. I hope many did the same, and the practice doesn’t become a new trend.

  68. As someone who doesn’t identify themselves as a Christian, I can honestly say that the ‘Christmas creep’ makes me extremely uncomfortable. This year I started to see Christmas merchandise being put up in stores a few weeks before Halloween, and a few Local radio stations started to play Christmas music the day after Halloween. No other religious holidays seems to get any attention at all around this time of year, although there are several. I understand that most of this nation is Christian; but it is still a little unsettling to see everyone play favorites so heavily. It would also be very nice if more people remembered the intended good spirit of the season and honestly acted a little more kindly to everyone. I don’t think it’s too much to ask of people to hold back from trampling and beating others up for a great Black Friday deal, no matter how much their kid wants the newest game system under the tree. I know I would feel a little more at ease with some more diversity and a little more of honest kindness around this time of year.

  69. I don’t actually find it that surprising that Christmas is so popular, as far as holidays go. Historically speaking, Christmas has always been a big deal.
    Back before refrigerators and heating, winter was a difficult season to get through. To look forward to a religious holiday not long after it started was all a lot of families had to work with. So compared to holidays like Thanksgiving, where people were feasting regardless of the holiday, provided the harvest was good, and Easter, with Spring approaching and the temperature warming up, Christmas was a lot more anticipated. People needed it.
    As far as its commercialism and favoritism, it has definitely inflated a tad too much, in my opinion. Businesses understand that people feel the need to get each other things. Anyone would feel proud of braving Black Friday to find that perfect gift on a budget. And unfortunately, companies invest into that attitude. They also cater to the majority, Christians in the United States’s case, so while they may sell things like Menorahs in one back corner of the store, they will be advertising the Christmas trees and video games for half off in all of the newspapers. In only adds to the existing issue of other religions getting overshadowed by the most popular.

    1. I agree with you that it makes sense why Christmas is so popular. I just wish it wasn’t the calendar eating beast it has become. I feel like I could deal with it for the month of December well enough. As it creeps into earlier months, however, I find myself feeling scroogey. Although I personally am not a part of the religion who celebrates Christmas, it’s no fun to be a damper on other peoples holiday. I do not really understand the whole ‘Happy Holidays’ vs. ‘Merry Christmas’ dilemma. I don’t see why both aren’t acceptable.

      1. I can understand your concern for the creeping of Christmas into earlier months. Dealing with the commercialism that has taken the reigns of the sleigh is nearly impossible now days. They have diverged Christmas from the religion it originated from. The nickname Xmas just goes to show that a lot of people aren’t even concerned about where it can from or what it’s all about. They are just concerned about keeping up with the corporate money grabbing businesses that are milking Christmas for all it’s worth.

      2. You’re right, the Holiday has been detached farther and farther from its religious roots, but I don’t think it’s far enough to have its religious roots forgotten. I feel like there is still a lot of religious imagery and overtones in the holiday even today. I feel like the big problem really is, at least for me, if wither it is religious or not, the Holiday is shoved in everyone face. If you want to celebrate Christmas in the religious aspect, that’s ok; and if you’d like to just give and get gifts, that’s ok too. What worries me is this unwillingness to leave people who don’t want any part of it out of it.

  70. Well I know what you are saying but Christianity is the most popular religion here. That does not mean that there are no other religions in our communities. it means that other religions are not as practiced in our communities. If those religions want to put out decorations then they should be able to. for example here in Chicago I see a Chicago Bears every where. On billboards, on TV, Etc. I am sure not every body in Chicago likes the bears but that is where they are most popular.

    1. You bring up a good point, but I am not sure if I agree all the way. Just because Christianity is the most popular religion practiced here in the states, does not mean it’s the only religion that should get attention as it does. I don’t think anyone is really asking Christians to STOP celebrating Christmas. I just think people, like myself, are asking them to perhaps celebrate in a way that isn’t so ‘in your face’ .

      1. The reason Christmas gets the attention that it does is because it’s transformed from a religious holiday to an American holiday. I know Hindus, atheist, Buddhists, and more who all celebrate christmas. Personally, this bothers me as a Christian because it should be centered on Jesus’s birth and not presents from Santa. As this blog post says- christmas is dominating America and not even everyone believes in this baby’s birth- well it just depends on what way you’re celebrating Christmas then to determine if it should bother you. Either way our country was found on a Christian background and just because were the “melting pot” doesn’t mean we should banish our traditions to accommodate others beliefs.

  71. I also am a christian, but the whole christmas in july phenomenon happens because Christmas has turned into a business, and is loosing its religious stand point amongst all the glamor and media. The sooner these companies can cram the shelves with decorations and lights, the faster they make a buck. And it goes to show that its working, because even today I still see people with christmas lights up outside, probably waiting to throw that big inflatable santa out. Its ridiculous.

  72. I’ll admit, I’m kinda guilty for this, but I still understood the value and essence of Christmas. I’d always look forward to collecting, but as I got older I didn’t really care whether I got something or not. But what I really enjoyed was giving gifts to those I need, it gave me this heart warm feeling, it made me feel like I did something great for someone, even though it wasn’t that big of a present to me, it was to them. I think schools should emphasize on the true essence of not only Christmas, but other festive holidays. This way they won’t only look at them as just a day off school or a term off school.

  73. I think that this post has a lot of great points. I think that it is true that decorations and the spectacle of Christmas seems to start earlier each year. However I don’t think this is making a religious statement as you claim. I think that people instantly associate winter and those things with the holidays and as the holidays bring around good spirits for most it shouldn’t be a crime to want to begin celebrations earlier. However I think as these celebrations start to begin in September it is going to be a little excessive so in that sense I agree with you. I also think people need to remember to give more than receive around the holidays, as you said, and that aspect of the holidays needs to be more prevalent in society and celebrated in the media.

  74. Everything in our world today revolves around money and it’s completely sad. They see a chance to make money off of something they go for it. Even if it is and should be a very special holiday like Christmas. I’m sure if you ask most young kids today what is Christmas about they would probably tell you it’s about Santa and the presents. I think the world needs a major wake up call so we can all start to remember whats really important.

  75. I do not believe that Christmas should be about the birth of Christ anymore. Though I do believe that if that what you are truly celebrating, go for it. But we as a society are granted weeks off of school and days off of work so that we are able to celebrate Christmas or that is celebrate the birth of Christ. In society today, Christmas should be seen as a time for getting together with loved ones you don’t get to see throughout the year and be a time to teach about selflessness, instead of selfishness. Since a large population (not all) of citizens that celebrate Christmas year after year are not celebrating for the birth of Christ and are celebrating to get together with loved ones, that is what should be taught and sought after for the “Christmas spirit”.

  76. Reblogged this on kailonifurlough and commented:
    I live in this materialistic world and society. I always dream of more caring and giving people, a world full of love, heart and soul. Since technology has taken its toll on the world, the world shifted into a gimmick to make more money. Which is the reason that I believe all holidays not only Christmas is used to make money.

  77. I absolutely agree that the season of Christmas has been lost through materialism and has fallen victim to it. As an individual who loves Christmas, seeing that the true meaning and purpose of this particular holiday fading year after year literally breaks my heart. I believe that from within society, the market industries play such a significant role in influencing us and our actions that we fail to even realize that we have fallen as victims to it. Personally, I find that the market industries just has a way in luring and manipulating numerous individuals easily through advertising that we only come to think about buying, buying and buying. In fact, it almost seems like a game of guilt is being played against us.By portraying and making us feel like we are the “bad guys” for not buying these certain products and items, we start to eventually fall for these feelings of guilt. In addition, I do believe as well that this is not just happening to the holiday of Christmas, but it is also happening to a few other holidays from which they are facing the same fate. This can be seen from Easter for instance. Overall, it seems that as each year passes, materialism will continue to be a problem that we will still witness seeing.

  78. I agree by each passing decade Christmas is becoming more and more advertise. And the more it becomes advertise the more it loses the real meaning of why Christmas was celebrating. People no longer get together on Christmas eve to celebrate a holiday that is supposed to be a time of family bonding and unity. Instead, they are getting together to see who got who what gift or present and that wasn’t completely the whole meaning of Christmas. I think one key factor of that is indeed the media and what they portray Christmas should be. That is why I’m in agreement that that should be change and people should start focusing on the real importance of life.

  79. I personally don’t celebrate Christmas due to my religious beliefs. But even though I don’t celebrate the season, I still am aware of the fact that the true meaning of Christmas has lost its definition. Some think of Christmas as a time of buying their friends a new Michael Kors purse or an X-box game. I mean, yes, let’s get real, who wouldn’t want a present? I love receiving gifts. However the point of Christmas isn’t to buy receive gifts. Christmas is a time of celebrating the birth of the Christ child. It’s all about religious beliefs. The reasoning behind why Christmas actually exists is being disregarded by many people. It is rare for a family to actually get together on this holiday to celebrate it together as one.

  80. I also believe that the saying “Christmas in July” is starting to become a true statement. It seems like stores are starting to put both Halloween and Christmas products out at the same time. I feel society has also forgotten what Christmas was all about. It’s not a holiday based strictly on religious purposes or only for gift giving. Anyone can celebrate Christmas no matter the race they are. For me, Christmas is all about how you spend time with family and the people you love and care about.

  81. I disagree strongly with many aspects of this article. This IS a free country which should give Christians the right to celebrate however they would like, just as Jewish, Buddhist, and many other faiths may do the same. The article asked, “What about Chanukah? Kwanza? Other holidays?” What about them? Those holidays are celebrated by the people that have those certain beliefs just as Christians celebrate Christmas. If somebody is not Jewish, it is not right to push the Jewish faith in his/her face and ask why it is not getting enough attention from the rest of society because, if the faith has a strong foundation, attention from the rest of society is unimportant. Christmas being a bit gaudier in its decorations, doesn’t make it any less valid than other religious holidays. “Quite frankly, it is down right discriminatory to exist in a society that claims to be open to a freedom of religion and then continuously participates in practices that are without question centered only in Christianity.” This is without a doubt the most self-conflicting statement I have ever read. It is a special time of year to us and the way we celebrate it should not be looked down upon because THAT is discriminatory in and of itself. If this article really does believe in freedom of religion, it would not try to discourage pride or any celebratory actions/decorations a certain religious holiday may participate in.

    1. I think you may have missed the point of the article, Ellie. The article isn’t about the fact that people can practice whatever faith they want. They most certainly can. The article is about the fact that advertisements and other secular aspects of Christmas are showing up earlier and earlier with a focus mostly on consumerism for the Christian holiday. We don’t see flyers and sales for Chanukah gifts in July. In fact, I am not sure I have ever seen and advertisement for a Chanukah gift. That is the point. American society has a one sided focus on the Christian holidays and often ignores holidays practiced by other faiths. The article, though, is not about the faiths, it is about the consumeristic nature of pushing Christmas gift purchases six months before the special time of year – a time of year I personally enjoy quite a lot. But there is a lot more in the world besides the Christian practice of Christmas – especially in July.

      1. Respectfully, I did not miss the point of the article, I stated that I disagree with many aspects, religious freedom just being the one that I focused on. Although the statement “Christmas in July” is a complete exaggeration, I agree that the holiday loses some of its value when it is prolonged into a larger time slot. I do not put up my Christmas tree until the day after Thanksgiving because I believe we should take it one holiday at a time. However, Christianity is centered around the birth of Jesus Christ and anyone should be allowed to celebrate year-round (also an exaggeration) if they really wanted to without being discriminated upon because at the end of the day, Christmas is not about giving or receiving at all. It is solely about our savior being born. Yes, we give presents to those we love but that is just one fraction of the customs and what it represents is far deeper.

      2. Well the article is about the commercialization of Christmas and not religious freedom. I don’t care what people personally want to celebrate. It is about the corporations forcing one religion down everyone’s throat as if there are no other religions. I am Christian myself, but I have friends of many faiths. Everywhere they turn they cannot escape the “Christian” world exclaiming that the only religion seemingly worth a focus on the commercialized world is Christianity. Some are thankful, or so they tell me, as they don’t want their religion skewed as Christianity has been to focus on “Christmas in July”.

  82. I believe Christmas in July is fun for some people and crazy for others. I totally agree that it is a little nuts that people celebrate it during the summer season but everyone is different. I learned something new from this article. I never knew that in July people were pushing Christmas gift purchases six months before the day we all celebrate. I think that is pretty interesting after reading that I realized that my family does this too, and even I have done it once or twice. I learned a lot about myself and the Christian practice of Christmas from reading this article.

    1. Tiffany, I think that the saying is just a hyperbole. People do not really celebrate Christmas in July. Many people DO however put up Christmas decorations earlier and earlier each year which is the intended meaning of proverb. Putting up these holiday decorations in November is much more common nowadays than it was even just a decade ago, but saying it is happening six months before is nothing but exaggeration to get a point across.

      1. Ellie, there is no doubt that people don’t put there lights up early, but I know people who celebrate Christmas in July. They even have ABC specials of Christmas movies in July as well. I think it is just how everyone sees Christmas. I really enjoy Christmas but me personally wouldn’t celebrate it in July.

    2. Tiffany I totally agree with 100%. I am Catholic and am blind to the fact that all of this goes down. I don’t want to accept the fact that we,as a religious community, do this to other religious groups on purpose. But in a way, we do because we focus everything on our faith and view others as different when they do not celebrate the same holidays as we do. It’s straight up unfair and something has to change quickly or else the Catholic religion will become an anarchy.

  83. I love Christmas it’s one of my favorite holidays and its sad to see that what you mention in the article is mostly true. That phrase “Christmas in July” is becoming more popular since many stores start advertising “sales” for Christmas season vey early and give us the wrong message. In fact many malls have new hours to make sure shoppers have enough time to shop. And buying gifts for people shouldn’t be what Christmas is about!!Christmas and any holiday should be about spending time with your love ones and most of all glorying the birth of Jesus. I know of parents that try to make up to their children who they don’t spend much time with amazing pricey gifts. Buying the best gift doesn’t make up for one not being a good parent. Society has change so many things about the way we celebrate holidays. It’s not only Christmas it’s also Thanksgiving and many more where people are being influenced by the media and are encourage to shop instead of being grateful with ones best gift, FAMILY. This is impacting society as a whole, children are growing up without knowing the importance of cherishing beautiful moments with the family. This might lead to eventually forgetting completely what Christmas is all about.

    1. That is exactly the point I am trying to get across. Somewhere in my lifetime we lost the focus on family and honoring the faithfulness aspect of the holiday and place emphasis on things, buying things. A friend of mine, who is Muslim, recently asked me what i want for Christmas. I told her that a gift wasn’t necessary, but if I could have anything I would want world peace. She got a kick out of that. But together we were reminded that the holidays arw about coming together, even across religious lines.

      1. Yes, I believe a lot of people during the holidays especially are asking for world peace. At least that is something I am asking for as well. With all the terrible things that have been happening it’s sad to know that many people would be missing their love ones that have died in terrible attacks. Like I mention above I believe that a great way to start changing this is by educating our children about the true meaning of Christmas. I know that we all enjoy receiving gifts I do a lot but I what I enjoy the most about Christmas is going with my family to church and also doing family activities praying and signing to God. The new generations should be doing the same both can be enjoyed as long as one knows the real meaning.

      2. Janelli, I agree that we should teach kids why we celebrate in the first place; which is the religious aspect. Aside from teaching, genuinely understanding it comes with maturation. The selfishness, that comes with wanting a toy for Christmas, is just their innocent, yet egocentric little minds. If they have been taught correctly they’ll gain insight with age.

      3. The sentiment that Christmas seems to be moving earlier and earlier in the year is one that I’ve heard every year for as long as I can remember. I feel it is likely there is simply a lapse in perception. Christmas, being so close to the new year, always shocks us in that the time seems to go by faster and faster still. I would like to see a study charting the earliest appearances of Christmas advertising annually to confirm this. On the off chance that Christmas IS moving earlier in the year, eventually it will go full circle and be right back where it belongs. On another note, Christmas has evolved. Just like marriage moving from a religious union to being an economic one, Christmas has moved away from it’s humble religious beginnings and is becoming a holiday to celebrate giving, togetherness, and the strange tradition of putting trees inside the house and lights on the outside. I am living proof of this. I am an anti-theist and that doesn’t hinder my spirit in the least. I celebrate Christmas with my family just as passionately, and even go to Christmas Eve mass to enjoy the beautiful lifting music, and vibrant decorum. Lastly, allow me to play devil’s advocate and explain the motives for commercialization of the holiday. Business owners don’t discriminate. Companies don’t care about black or white, Christian or Jew, they care about green. When you operate in the U.S., where 78% of the population identified as Christian in 2007, of course you are going to advertise the the largest marketing demographic!

      4. Well Marcus, this year I saw an ad in August that said, “beat the holiday rush, Pre-Christmas specials.” I was like, “what? Too early for that.” I think it was a Walmart ad, but I cannot be sure. As to marriage now being an economic rather than religious union, that is a misnomer. Historically, marriage was always a contractual union to legitimize offspring and build economic ties with other parties, especially for the wealthy. For the poor, it can be argued that marriage was more about religion historically. Class seems to somehow make its way into most issues. Even this one about the commercialization of Christmas can be broken down into class interpretations. But that would take us in a direction I don’t care to go today.

      5. Marcus, the part I do agree with is the part where our perception is defied in some ways. For example, in the article, the author talks about missing how the holidays USED to be, in her childhood we could assume. I think that Christmas when we were kids felt more magical because we were kids. Each year I feel like the holidays “just aren’t the same” and I think that is just a direct result of getting older and more boring. Not to say I don’t still adore the Christmas season, I do, kids just have an exceptional way of finding the magic in everything.

      6. This is a really great point Ellie. As I age, I agree the magic of Christmas seems further and further behind me. The simplicity of childhood makes so many things magic. And the world really isn’t the same as it once was, whether literally or just in perception.

      7. Yes, Bonniejean, I totally agree. Something I would like to add, however, is the benefits that come with age. As I have gotten older, I have learned to be humble. When I wake up on Christmas morning and it is time to exchange presents, I get so genuinely excited to see the reactions on people’s faces from the things that I am giving them, rather than being excited about what I will receive. There is no doubt that this was not completely true when I was 5. So in a way I am happy to have matured.

  84. To imply that Christmas celebrations in today’s commercialized society as being wrong or intolerant of other religions is in it of itself slightly intolerant not because of its religious meaning but because the holiday means far more than that to almost all walks of life. Just because you’re not a christian doesn’t mean you can’t celebrate Christmas. The only reason it is the most commercialized holiday is because it has so much impact in today’s pop culture with roots spreading far into all parts of the globe. Yes, other holidays may not get as much attention, but that’s mostly because those holidays have more strict criteria in order to celebrate them. Those holidays are far more sacred in that respect and I’m sure those that celebrate them dutifully appreciate that.

    1. Ms. Bonniejean, that is very interesting, I didn’t know that. However, my point still stands. Heavy advertising and commercialization of Christmas doesn’t imply religious intolerance for two reasons. Firstly, Christmas is not a purely religious practice, it is a common tradition between people of all religions, beliefs, and walks of life. Forms of Christmas-esque holidays are celebrated all over the world, from Russia’s Ded Moroz, to the UK’s Father Christmas, to the U.S.’s Santa Claus, the Germany’s Sankt Nikolaus and Krampus. Christianity does not have a monopoly on the celebration of Christmas. Secondly, it is not intolerant to aim advertising at the most popular religion or celebration. it is intelligent and profitable. If the marketing head of a Coke suggested to the board one day that they pour millions into a kwanza advertising campaign, he would probably be fired.

    2. Kevin, I get where you are coming from but some people don’t believe in anything. It is kind of discriminating towards these people because they are being left out. We assume a lot of things in this country and most of the time we are wrong. We want everyone to be like us and have some sort of common ground but it will never happen. Some individuals have the free will to pick and chose what they want to believe in but others don’t even have the choice. They are forced into things that they do not truly believe in. For example, me coming from a Catholic background. I did not really have the option as a kid to not celebrate Christmas or not. It was expected of me to believe in Jesus and celebrate his birth during this time of year. That was the only religion I ever knew for a while and thought everyone was Catholic like me. When I entered high school, all these religious expectations withered away because I was exposed to other cultures and religions. What I guess I’m trying to say here is that this country sets up certain guidelines for their citizens to become accepted within this country. They want you to be certain religion (Catholic), they want you to buy stuff (homes, apartments, stores), etc. It’s sad but true, in my opinion.

  85. I think Christmas is commercialized because it has turned into this holiday where corporations see an opportunity to push their products onto people. And this is apparent in the craziness that is Black Friday. Conventional wisdom dictates that you HAVE to get the people you love a gift, to prove you love them. I do not even think gifts should be an important aspect of Christmas. I think what should be important is spending time with the people you love. I, too, long for a simpler Christmas before consumerism had such a tight grip on society.

    1. I completely agree that Christmas is commercialized because this time of the year is all about the money and profit. Thats kind of what happens when capitalism comes into play. We as consumers, try to get the best deals on things no matter what. But like you said above David, I would appreciate someones presence more than a materialistic thing. I believe that we are on the same page but do you try think this is possible for America?

      1. Call me an optimist, Gooey, but I think it is possible. I think that people are starting to recognize and get disgusted with corporate greed. That is why Bernie Sanders is receiving such widespread support. He calls corporations out. The commercialization of Christmas is really part of a larger problem.

    2. David, I see what you are trying to say. I just don’t think America is fully aware/educated to understand what truly is happening. Before reading this article, I had no idea Christmas was this extreme. Sure I would see crazy sales go up in stores months ahead but I never really paid attention to the fact that it was neglecting other holidays/religions. Then you begin to realize that its all about the cash flow coming in. I do think Bernie and his supporters are on the right track but it will take decades, in my opinion, to persuade others that his beliefs and stand points are valid. We’ve been lied to many times in this country by politics.

  86. What has made Christmas so prevalent in our culture is not because of Christians pushing it but rather businesses trying to exploit the holiday to gain profits. It makes sense that they would pick Christmas because it is the holiday that majority of Americans celebrate, so it hits the largest market. Also, it is incredibly easy to flip the meaning of Christmas around from giving gifts to receiving gifts. Our capitalist economy is what allows this to be perpetuated because the sole goal of capitalism is to make the most amount of money, this acceptance of greed makes it easy for businesses to try to change the meaning of christmas because they don’t care all that matters is money. If we ever want to see a change, we are going to have to start calling businesses out and attempting to point out when businesses cross the line.

    1. That is true; Christmas is a sacred holiday and corporations shamelessly try to profit from it. That was not always the case. But throughout the years, corporations have redefined how society views the meaning of the holiday. This was done through heavy advertisement campaigns that have led to Christmas being seen in more of a consumeristic lighting. It seems that the true religious meaning of the holiday is being forgotten.

    2. Austin, you hit the main points in this article spot on. America is obsessed with money and whatever drives money in, they’ll do. People during this time of year (Christmas) are more worried about getting the right gifts for people. Money in this generation is the main goal for people which is sickening. You don’t want money, you just want money to spend on things. Theres a huge difference between the two but either way, we are loosing the true meaning of coming together and giving.

      1. I think it’s important to notice the problem of everyone just wanting and losing the main meaning of Christmas, but then its even more important to do something about it. I know I noticed how selfish I can get around holidays so on thanksgiving I went to a homeless shelter and made/fed the homeless. Little things like this make a huge impact. Don’t just acknowledge that there’s an issue, fix it.

  87. This article made me a little teary eyed to be honest. Just from being a kid and remembering what Christmas was like, I feel like I was part of the problem. I expected a lot of things during Christmas as a kid and was upset when I didn’t get something I wanted. Looking back on it now makes me realize how selfish and rude I made myself look. For example, kids nowadays would much rather have something that is materialistic like a hover board or iPhone compared to something like a home made sweater by your grandma. We’ve lost this sense of sympathy towards others which is saddening. People think that if you buy the latest gadgets and technology, you’ll be satisfied/happy with it when in reality there will be something better/newer in the next few months.

  88. This article made me a little teary eyed to be honest. From past experience, I know I am part of the problem. I never appreciated the little things that made Christmas so special, I just focused on what I was going to get from Santa. That’s how I was raised. I guess because kids around this time are expecting presents that will satisfy them. All of these materialistic things have gone way out of proportion and make it seem like that’s what it’s all about. When in reality, there’s a ton of other religions that need to be appreciated as well. The Christian faith and Christmas has been so wide spread that we forget about all the other celebrations that people celebrate. It’s not like we see stuff on sale because it’s Kwanza. It is unfair and disrespectful for those who are not celebrating Christmas because this society is neglecting all of their celebrations.

  89. Another thing that relates to holidays and takes away the spirit is Black Friday with Thanksgiving. On Thanksgiving we’re supposed to be spending time with our families and appreciating/being thankful for what we have. Frankly, I find it ironic that the day after we all camp outside of stores, knock people over, fight, and spend a lot of money on/for more things. It’s getting worse and worse every year too. The stores now offer the deals on Thanksgiving, so we have people in stores (retail workers) instead of at home with their families creating memories. Some may say that Thanksgiving is a cruel holiday if you look at our nations past, but I say we’re all here because of it and no matter how it got here we should be with family being thankful,not in stores trampling people over 40% off shoes.

    1. Absolutely. It is so frustrating that places want to take away from the best holiday for the sake of profit. I never understood the attraction. But then, I am one of those that finds deals all year long that are better than the deals on Black Friday.

      1. Christmas to me used to mean a lot about being with family, even as a kid. Now as I get older I strangely see my extended family less, and still receive presents. But Black Friday is ridiculous, people actually camp out to spend their own money. Everyone loves presents, obviously, but the presents now aren’t even done out of good measure. A lot of people are Indian givers, or they gifts as a way to brag.

    2. I agree with this it’s astonishing how sales are interfering with family time. Our family social lives are getting tooken away by material things. We should be giving thanks for what we already have but yet we attracted by things that we don’t have that are knocked down the price on this one and only day. It’s as if we have to choose between our very own family time or impulse buying.

      1. It’s also crazy how as Christmas is getting closer and I go to different places and they have their “Holiday Hours” posted and some of these places are open on Christmas! Dunkin Donuts for example is open on Christmas, and I can’t help but wonder why? Why do people have to sacrifice family time to go work at a coffee shop!?!?! When I’m sure that almost everyone has a coffee maker in their house!

  90. Reading this article, I could not help but think of my own personal feelings about Christmas. Personally, I am not a big fan of it. Thinking back to when I was younger, the holidays were all about spending time with my family and opening all of the gifts I was given by my parents and other family members. It sounds selfish, doesn’t it? As I have gotten older, while Christmas is still a great opportunity to get together with my family, the stress that is placed on gift giving and the pressure/ consumerism from the market is overwhelming. Sometimes, money is just way too tight to be buying gifts for everybody. If you ask me, holidays should not even be about gifts and all of the decorations retail pushes down our throats so early on. Many of us have lost the true meaning of Christmas because at a young age, we are exposed to presents and the material items we are given that conditioned us to love Christmas. I also agree with the fact that not every religion celebrates Christmas, so our society needs to be more respectful of that. For example, when Starbucks this year got rid of their classic, holiday “red cup”, an uproar was caused by those who celebrate Christmas and many were even claiming, “Starbucks is a Satanist company”, because of this. How ridiculous is that?! All because they were trying to be respectful and cater to everyone’s religious belief.

  91. I was really moved with this article useful because it is the holiday season currently. Over the past couple of years i have seen that the meaning of the holiday’s have shifted drastically! Growing up my family always spent Christmas in Mexico where the meaning of Christmas (thankfully) is still orientated towards the actual meaning behind it and the birth of Jesus is focused on! I never knew that gifts were bought, given nor received up until i was about 10, when I had received my first gift. Now a day’s it seems as if you didn’t get the newest latest model of an iPhone, iPad, or the “hottest” thing trending, you’re not celebrating it right. I am all for decoration, if you really want to decorate your home with the flashy lights and other items go for it, we’re all in the right to do things the way we want to. Just as long as the true meaning behind Christmas is being focused on and is being celebrated, family is together, gifts are the least important part of the holiday. Point of the matter, everyone has the right to celebrate what they want whether it’d be Christmas, Kwanza, Chanukah, or whatever it may be, just stay true to the meaning behind it and don’t let society shape your view on things. Materialistic things come and go, but family stays and I feel that family and the coming together on the holiday’s is all that matters.

    1. I think it is so awesome that your parents did that growing up. The idea that you didn’t even know people got gifts on christmas and that you just saw christmas as Jesus’ birthday is crazy to me, but so cool. I think that’s how it should be. A Christian religious holiday, not an “American holiday” with santa and gifts. Also focusing on making memories with family and not just running yourself and your family broke by over spending.

  92. I personally am huge on being against decorating before December. People over look holidays like thanksgiving especially and start decorating for Christmas long before they should. I personally wait till December or at the very least after thanksgiving to even bring out my families Christmas stuff but I seem to be among very few. People now only care about presents when it comes to Christmas and for a long time I was guilty of this too. Santa, all the presents, all the food, but not thinking one bit about what Christmas is about or even just seeing family from out of town that I see maybe twice a year. There is a time for Christmas and the holiday spirit and there is a time for other holidays as well. The line of those times is very thin but most people have stepped well over that line without the thought of other holidays their religion and others.

  93. It’s funny that you say this. Recently my mother was with my cousins and their children at Disney World. While she was there, they were all watching the parade there, and there was a Christmas show. My mom asked my cousin’s daughter Olivia who her favorite character was in the show. She replied “Santa, because he brings me presents.” So my mother said, “You know that’s not what the meaning of Christmas is about, it’s about Jesus.” Olivia replied, “No it’s not, it’s about presents.” I think this is a good explanation. As we get older and we have our kids, it’s important that we pass some form of tradition down through our families. As the years have passed children have been receiving more and more presents, because of their parents wanting to give them everything they didn’t have when they were young. I think that companies who drive a large profit off of Christmas, which is more than any other holiday, tend to display it earlier and earlier, because consumers keep buying more and more by the year. We can’t play into what they want.

  94. Christmas keeps shifting earlier and earlier because today’s culture is different than back then. I agree that the media is playing a huge part on people’s thinking. It is easily influencing the younger generation what Christmas should mean. I also agree how the other holidays are being over shadowed by the Christmas holiday. I believe since the US is basically a Christian country, other religious beliefs feel like they don’t belong here. They may feel that their holiday isn’t recognized because it wasn’t born here. They feel out of place and don’t speak out because they just want to blend in with the American culture. If only we can change the socialization of America’s culture to be more accepting, then maybe these other holidays won’t be over shadowed.

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