Thursday, December 8, 2011

The True Meaning of Christmas

Sadly, I think many have lost the true meaning of Christmas. I’m not going to get into a whole religious speech about what the day should be; I honestly think that most people, somewhere in the back of their mind, remember the teachings of their childhood and what Christmas really is all about. Somehow, it just became less important.
Over the past few years, even I, the “Christmas Queen” have become disappointed by what has happened to this much loved holiday. The commercialism has reached an all-time high. Who would have ever thought that while shopping for your child’s Halloween costume, you could turn to your right, in the very same aisle and pick up new tree ornaments or lights!
I remember a time when Christmas retail commercials started the day after Thanksgiving. The Black Friday shopping tradition has been around for years, but even that is starting earlier, who knows, given enough time, Black Friday may be the Friday before Thanksgiving!
In these tough economic times, I don’t think we need the added pressure from retailers to buy Christmas gifts, when most are worried about putting food on the table, keeping the lights on or worse, a roof over their head.
For me Christmas has always meant family. When I was young, the holidays were the same every year. Christmas Eve was spent at my mom’s parents and Christmas day was at my dad’s parent’s. It never changed. And as small as both those homes were, EVERYONE came and we all fit! We laughed, we ate and then opened a few gifts. Key word—few.
When I became an adult and started having a family of my own, I tried to make Christmas memories. When my kids were little, we would do all sorts of things. Getting the tree at Mrs. Dyer’s tree farm was a tradition. She was the kid’s bus driver and every year she would laugh at just how large of a tree we would find! You would have thought we lived in a mansion with Cathedral ceilings, instead of a trailer, lol. I would have my niece over for a weekend and along with me and my daughter, the three of us would make “bacon & eggs”, you know, the small pretzel sticks, white chocolate and yellow M & M’s, LOL. We always seemed to run out of M & M’s! My sister and I would pile all the kids in the car, take along big bags of popcorn we popped and mugs of hit chocolate, then drive around town looking at all the Christmas decorations, while singing to Christmas music from a cassette playing in the car radio. And Christmas Eve was always spent at my house. There was food, cookies, laughter and Love. To this day my kids will tell you the funny stories about gifts they received…not so much the gift itself, as much as the story around it.
And I guess that’s where I’m leading with all this. I’m here to say that my personal Christmas memories have nothing to do with a gift I got, heck, I honestly don’t remember most of them. And the ones I do, the ones that have meant the most to me, have been things my children made for me. Ornaments they made in elementary school still hang on my tree today. I still have the snowman pin made out of crafters clay, my son made for me when he was 6 years old.
So I’m here to say, don’t stress the holiday’s—there’s no reason to. Who said we need to rack up hundreds of dollars of debt to have a “Merry Christmas”? What are we teaching our future generations? Think about it. If our kids don’t have 25 gifts each to open Christmas morning, it doesn’t mean we don’t love them or care. And if they do think that, where did they learn that from?
Maybe this year, try to make a memory rather than make yourself sick with worry about buying everybody everything they want or unnecessary debt. Start a new tradition or rekindle an old one! It’s never too late to bring the true meaning of Christmas back home…
Merry Christmas,
 Savannah Rayne
 Give the gift of reading this holiday season!

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