As I get older I have found that meaning has become very important to me. I want depth. I want to think and be challenged. I want the story behind things. I don’t have patience for frivolities that fail to offer meaning or depth. This becomes particularly obvious during the Christmas season when there seems to almost be a tug-of-war between the meaningful, and the meaningless. On one side is the Christian tradition of Christmas as the celebration of the birth of Christ, and on the other is the sickeningly consumerist “I want” culture and it’s fat, white-bearded, red-clad mascot.
The modern Santa Clause had been exorcised of much of his historical substance and meaning. Today, he’s a symbol of rabid consumerism, childhood greed and Big Brother lite. Everyone likes to complain about society is going down the tubes, but few consider the possibility that it might stem from lying to our children, telling them that a magical fat man and his army of elf slaves are going to bring them whatever they want for free. And oh-by-the-way, Santa is “always watching” to see if they’ve been “good” or not. Nothing like preconditioning them to live under an all-seeing government which will give them whatever they want for “free”. It misses the most important part of the Christmas season: giving. You can’t give unless you have something to give. It has a prerequisite that requires work and some measure of self-sacrifice to produce or buy a gift to give to someone else.
I’m very much a capitalist, and I realize that there is some inherent consumerism involved with that. However it is our individual responsibilities to buy thoughtfully. Buy the nicest, best quality gifts you can (and note that that doesn’t mean the most expensive). Don’t buy your kids those Chinese-made plastic poop toys or any of that other plastic garbage that they are going to play with for a week and then never touch again. Buy a rocking horse. Buy books. Buy building blocks. Make something. Give a gift of real worth. If you can’t afford to buy or make something, make memories.
Be thankful for what you have and find joy in it. Give thoughtfully and receive graciously. Give thanks and above all find meaning in this holy season even if you are not religious.
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Based on a work at http://www.considerliberty.com.
Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.