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Christ, Consumerism and Christmas – What are we celebrating?

Everyone can agree that Christmas time is equal parts exciting and exhausting. The working year is winding down, the hangover from the Christmas party has started to heal, you’ve booked in some quality R&R and you’re running around like crazy on the hunt for the perfect present.

This year, I’ve heard more and more people question why it is they still celebrate Christmas. Sure, sharing Christmas pudding and cracking bon-bons is great, but all that fuss, all that money, all that waste – does celebrating Christmas still make sense?

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Christmas is the celebration of the birth of Jesus and the entering of God into the human world. It is a holiday reserved for those who truley believe in Christian creationism and the messages of God. However, for 32% of Australian’s who have given up practicing Christianity, or never did, Christmas has become much more of a cultural tradition, than a religious ritual. For most of us, Christmas is a time for family, food and a bit of harmless festive fun.

Rather than becoming closer to Christ, many of the original religious myths surrounding Christmas have been replaced with material rejoicing. Thesedays, if you are celebrating Christmas, you’ll spend more time with the masses in the mall than studying scriptures. Australians are set to spend over 17.8 billion on gifts in the 6 weeks leading up to Christmas. Many of which end up in landfills, leave families in financial stress and most of which are unnecessary. It seems that Christmas has become the holiday to celebrate the birth of consumerism, rather than Christ.

Now I’m not trying to be the grinch here – I’m just taking a moment to question customs I’ve been born into, to see if they still make sense in my life.

Personally, I’m in the “still figuring it all out” category when it comes to the creation of our universe and my relationship with the divine. Unfortunately, there’s no annual feast or celebration for the uncertain. And I’m not quite enlightened enough to say no to a table full of home-made goodness and the jolly belly laughs shared at the table!

So can we still dance around to the Mariah Caey Christmas album even if we don’t subscribe to the idea of Christ or the endless cycle of consumption?

The choice is a personal one. My solution would be to come up with a new name for the occassion if we are celebrating without Christ – but heck until then, just enjoy the time with your family and be merry.  Just try your best to free yourself from the pressure of a perfect day or buying the most lavish gift to give. It’s all a bit of a trap. Instead, listen to the true messages of Chrismas, that of giving and receiving, connection, compassion, inclusion and acceptance. Make sure to eat too much, laugh too hard and just enjoy yourself.

If you and your family have a unique way of celebrating Christmas or the holiday season, please share below.

Whether you are celebrting Chritsmas or not, I hope you have a beautiful end to 2015 and I can’t wait to spend 2016 with you!

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