Is the True Meaning of Christmas Being Lost?

Christmas has always been known as a time to be filled with the holiday spirit. Decorating the tree, baking cookies, singing carols, and being with family and friends are just some of the customs that come about at this time in the winter season. Since we were children we were told stories about what happens while we sleep, as Santa travels around the world bringing toys to all the good boys and girls. For some it is a more religious occasion celebrating the birth of Jesus Christ. While for others this holiday is just an American tradition that is fun to take part in.

No matter what you believe or why you celebrate one thing has always been tied into this jolly season. This one thing can cause a plethora of emotions that could be good, or that could also be bad. This one thing that has appeared every holiday season is, a present. Who knew that under all the wrapping paper and neatly tied ribbon something could hold so much power? People go to the ends of the earth, now thanks to online shopping, just to pick a gift for a friend, family member, co-worker, and anyone else they feel deserves a gift. But has gift-giving taken the main spotlight?

Flicking through the channels, Christmas commercials dominate the screen; a domination that started right before Halloween.

“Shirts for men and women only 10 dollars! And sweaters are only 15! Stop in to Old Navy this Christmas for great holiday savings,” the Old Navy commercial blared.

“Walmart has everything you need to make your child’s Christmas special. Come into Walmart, where Christmas cost less,” following right after the Old Navy commercial.

Toys for kids, clothes for all, and jewelry in every style are among the many items that may be the hot new item that everyone feels they need to have. Black Friday, a day dedicated to Christmas shopping, even has people changing their sleeping schedules just to wake up incredibly early and try to hunt down the big Christmas bargains. In Lancaster, Pa, the Rockvale Outlets opened at 12am on Black Friday just in hopes of attracting all of those shoppers that could not wait until 5am to start Christmas shopping. Do people care too much about the materialistic side of Christmas?

For Anna Castanaga, the materialistic side of Christmas no longer exists. To Castanaga, family is the greatest gift you will ever be given and should be cherished more then anything, even more then the newly popular Ipod, Blackberry, or pair of Ugg boots.

“People make too much about gift giving,” said Castanaga as she turned off the TV and walked into the kitchen. A gift should only be shared if there is real meaning behind it, not just because they feel pressured to.”

Castanaga walked to her refrigerator and pulled out some apple pies that she had baked just the day before. She explained that she gives them out to her neighbors as a way to show she is thinking of them during the holiday season. She feels this kind of gift allows each family to come together and enjoy, unlike a new cell phone that would isolate one family member away from another.

“I don’t go to all the early hours or the big sales at the mall,” said Castanaga. “To me a gift can be found all sorts of ways. It doesn’t have to be something that people can hold in there hands, but could be something like a favor.”

Offering kindness is one thing Castanaga feels should be passed around for Christmas.

“We should remember all of those who will need a little help this Christmas,” said Castanaga. “There is nothing more rewarding then giving the gift of hope and happiness.”

People need to focus on their families and count their blessings during the holiday season. There are many people out there who are less fortunate and do not have the money to purchase presents for their loved ones.

Christmas is a time to appreciate life and share the appreciation with others. Castanaga remembers the true meaning of Christmas, being able to come together with loved ones and celebrate their good fortunes. People should move passed the newest trends being advertised this and every holiday season, and remember why the Christmas season really is “the most wonderful time of the year.”

Sale signs fill Boscovs
Sale signs fill BoscovsCars fill the parking lot on Black Friday at Park City Center in Lancaster, Pa.

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