Trigger Life Incident:
So I’m a social worker who assists clients with paying bills they’ve either fallen behind on or can’t pay because of some emergency situation (ie. car break-down, child medical expenses, death in the family etc.) that interrupted their regularly scheduled bill payments.
During and after the Holiday season, however, the reasons or inabilities to pay bills oftentimes involves Christmas which has, nonetheless, been famously coined “the most wonderful time of the year”, but is it really though?
What makes Christmas the most wonderful time of the year?
The world does not stop because the calendar has fallen, yet again on the “hap-happiest season of all”. Bills still come and managing those bills becomes a lot harder for many Americans when the seemingly mandatory purchasing of gifts is added to life’s list of expenses.
So what exactly makes Christmas the most wonderful time of year?
While there is this idea that Christmas is about “holiday cheer”, jingling bells, and a baby Jesus, if we were all honest, we’d admit that Christmas is way more about consuming worldly possessions (which, ironically, Jesus wagged his finger at) than it is about any of the aforementioned. I’ve had to help people pay their bills because they forced buying stuff into their already jammed-packed budgets. I understand that as a parent you want your children to have a “good” Christmas, but do we really want to teach children that a good Christmas is connected to material things?
When I was little, I was far from a brat–what one would even consider a “good child”. Yet, I still subconsciously expected to receive not just a gift for Christmas, but several, and though I knew better than to verbally express anything that ungrateful, the feeling was still there. I would seriously be disappointed if the gifts under the tree were a little skimpy, and I found myself constantly comparing all Christmas days with the Christmas days the years before.
I think back to my primary and secondary experiences with classmates and how we would compare how much stuff we got for Christmas. Of course there were always those children who couldn’t participate in the conversation, and while I’m sure that was somewhat depressing, their plight is not what bothers me the most. I’m more bothered, I realize, by those of my classmates whose parents literally made financial sacrifices just so their children could come to school and brag about, or wear their light, gas or water bill on their feet.
No, I’m not against gift-giving, I’m against excess and the mentality that excess develops. I’m against the pressure that Christmas places on parents to make financial sacrifices just so their children don’t end up lying across some psychiatrist’s couch explaining how it all started with a Christmas that yielded no presents. I’m against instilling in people the expectation of material possessions, and the longing for those things because longing oftentimes turns into greed. Greed, after all, is nothing more than an intense and selfish desire for something.
As an adult , I’ve had to learn to curtail my wants– to deny myself materials that I, for whatever reason, convince myself that I need. I’ve had to learn to prioritize my needs over my wants; over my desires and to control myself so that my desires do not control me. When we fail to put conscious effort into doing this, we become consumed by greed and our desire to have things overrule our logic. This is how irrational and impulsive spending happens. I do not at all blame Christmas alone for greed, but I do attribute a large part of the blame to it.
As of this year, my family and I have ceased to celebrate Christmas, but I am always open to hearing from people who have found ways to make Christmas more of what it’s supposed to be than what it has become. So what do you say? How have you curtailed the excess and greed that Christmas promotes? Do you even agree that Christmas does this? Make your voice known!