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Christmas - True Meaning or Too Commercialised?

By (view all posts by Clodagh Foelster)
at 12:50AM Saturday 18 December, 2010
under Christmas and New Year

Okay, so over the last few weeks I've heard nothing but Christmas is just a Hallmark holiday or Christmas is too commercialised or No-one understands the true meaning of Christmas anymore. Well, you know what I think? I think the very people who speak those words are the very people to which they apply. There, I've said it! The biggest Scrooges around are the people who are too busy moaning and complaining about the lack of Christmas spirit to actually feel it themselves! So what do you think? Do you get the true meaning or do you think it's just too commercialised?

There are two trains of thought - one is the Polar Express, filled with excited children full of 'belief, faith and trust'. The other is the Northern Line during rush hour, filled with those forced onto it because they have no other option other than waiting impatiently till they can get off.

I am most definitely on the Polar Express (I've spent way too many years travelling the Tube to even contemplate it during the festive season but that's another blog!) I grew up in the 70s as one of six children. Like most families in the 70s money was tight and Santa wasn't anywhere near as wealthy as he is these days. However, I never knew just how hard my parents and my friends parents struggled so we could all have a fantastic Christmas Day. Back then it wasn't about what we got but more about who we got it from - Santa, that amazingly jolly man in the red suit who flew by magic on a reindeer pulled sleigh. Do you know every year my friends and I all heard those sleigh bells? That's what makes Christmas so magical. And while the true meaning of Christmas is all about the birth of Jesus, that also envelopes the spirit of love and giving and family, all of which is encompassed in the whole idea of Santa and gift giving.

And what about those gifts? Yes, they are bigger and better than ever before but so are our wages, so is what we see available. Many kids would wonder if they were on the naughty list if all they got for Christmas was a penny whistle but when my parents were young that was truly a magical present. It's nothing to do with expense but just like us, presents move with the times too. It doesn't make it more commercialised at all. In fact, that tin whistle probably set my Grandad back a whole lot more than the doll's house my daughter is getting cost me.

As for missing the true meaning, well try telling that to the hundreds of parents around the country who this week will be watching their kids dressed as shepherds, wise men and angels. Just try saying that no-one remembers it's about the Baby Jesus as many blue-veiled Mary's panic when their swaddled doll 'Jesus' falls from their hands in the midst of the Nativity play. Try telling the inanely grinning Dads or the teary-eyed Mums...or better still, take a deep breath from your complaining and get out there and see it yourself.

Children - that's where the spirit of Christmas really comes in. I get to re-live my childhood through my children. Their excited faces as they contemplate that Santa was in their very house while they slept, reminds me of being a child and, for just a few hours, I get to forget the stress and strain of being a responsible adult.

So, to all of you who think Christmas is too commercialised, too expensive, too indulgent take a look into my Christmas Day with my five excited children who's bright smiles get even brighter as I unwrap each and every hand-made gift from them. Or think about your own Christmases growing up and remember the thrill, the excitement, the whole magical experience...and allow yourself to smile.

That's one gift that's completely free.