When Christmas Turns to Craziness

| November 27, 2018

Mere hours after families consume roasted turkeys and cite blessings they are thankful for, hordes of determined shoppers burst through the doors of nearly every store in the United States for the unofficial beginning of the Christmas season.

What happens to the thankful people gathered with their loved ones? Are those blessings forgotten in the heat of the moment, with Black Friday’s promise of money-saving deals looming over excited customers’ heads?

Many Black Friday sales began online at 12:01 Thursday, Nov. 22, with stores opening their front doors for Black Friday sales on Thanksgiving Day. The chaos that ensued this year was not only from long lines and great deals, but multiple incidents involving customers, including arguments over merchandise, fistfights and even a fatal mall shooting that occurred in Alabama, according to NBC News.

People are going crazy just to save a few dollars on Christmas gifts that will be outdated in months, maybe even weeks, and according to The Guardian, the Christmas shopping season causes highly increased levels of anxiety to workers who have to deal with these often-unreasonable crowds for minimal payoff. The season of giving has turned into a commercialized, gift-buying frenzy that makes most people’s heads spin.

Thanksgiving and Christmas ought to be about giving: giving to those we love, giving to those less fortunate, giving to those who need it. But instead of giving, this season has become a season of buying.

Lucy Van Pelt in A Charlie Brown Christmas said (rather cynically), “Let’s face it. We all know that Christmas is a big commercial racket.”

But she does make a valid point.

Each year, the idea of Christmas gets blown out of proportion – families expect a bigger and better celebration than the year before, and anything less is liable to leave you with disappointed children and a whole lot of used wrapping paper.

Christmas has become synonymous with busyness and excess, but that is not what the holiday is supposed to be about. It should be a time when the things that are most important to people become highlighted. Especially during this time of year, family and relationships should be priority, not who bought the best stocking stuffers.

The true meaning of Christmas gets touted in every holiday special and cartoon, but sometimes clichés become cliché because they are true.

Jesus gave the ultimate gift to the people he loved that first Christmas: he came to earth and offered himself as a perfect sacrifice for the sins of the world. Many people today would prefer to forget that Jesus Christ is the reason for this yearly Christmas celebration, but his example is one that resonates with people, whether they are Christian or not.

Matthew 20:28 says, “The Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.”

What if, instead of this expectation to ‘buy, buy, buy’ to make people happy, we instead gave of ourselves? How much more treasured of a gift would it be for people to give of their time and their talents, rather than simply offering financially valuable gifts.

Thankfulness and considering others often go out the window as soon as the turkey is put in the fridge on Thanksgiving Day, but think carefully before prioritizing the purchase of the latest video game over spending time with your family.

Trite as it may be (roll your eyes if you must), this message still rings true: the best Christmas gift you can give your family is the time you spend with them. They’ll think of those moments a lot more than that new television you stood outside of Walmart to buy on Thanksgiving night.

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