It’s as easy to get caught up in consumerism around the holidays as it is to roll your eyes at those who do. The Christmas Season now starts days before Thanksgiving and, at some stores and theme parks, lasts until the end of the first week of January. People say that we’ve lost the true meaning of Christmas but I’d argue that there was probably never a “true” one to begin with. What began as a pagan winter holiday became co-opted by Christians only to be co-opted by companies trying to sell you something. And it’s all this commercialism that can turn people off. But, please don’t be mad at the gifts.
Gifts can be important. Gifts can show that you care, or that you’re cared about. Gifts don’t have to be extravagant or expensive to be special. And, even if you don’t like what you’ve been given, it shouldn’t negate the act of the giving. Marie Kondo, author of “The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up“, believes that the giver’s joy happens the moment the gift is given. (Hence her also believing one shouldn’t feel guilty about throwing out or regifting items you don’t want. Considering she comes from Japan – a country with omiyage, or “obligational gifts” – this is probably not a bad idea!)
Anyways, gifts were a big part of making today special. I gave two small, simple gifts at work which helped ease some long-running tensions and, later, a coworker gave my fiancé and me the most incredible of hand-made gifts. And it turns out she got as much joy out of making those gifts as we did from receiving them. At a time when most people only seem to care about themselves, and being selfish is about to become law in this country, I’m grateful for days like today.