Day 437: Redefining Christmas

It is Christmas again. And unfortunately, this has become the holiday of consumption. I talked with an old man and he shared his memories of Christmas. He shared that when he was a child Christmas was a holiday filled with reverence and depth. It was a time where the family came together to celebrate an important part of their religion. And even though I do understand that what he described was not ideal, considering the many problems connected to religion, I could sense that Christmas had a positive impact on him. And now, compare that with the Christmas of today, where all the focus is on buying things, and where Christian traditions have become but empty shell – a tradition with no content but rather loosely connected parts that appear without reason. A Santa Claus that comes from the Germanic folklore and whose appearance have been partly created by the Coca Cola company to market their beverages – situated in a holiday supposed to be about commemorating the birth of Jesus. It is a big jumble of stories – and now – they are all in the claws of corporate greed – that tries to milk every bit of penny out of the festival.

Is it strange that children become confused or that we feel that life in this world is meaningless? Look at Christmas, it is has become a bunch of traditions that make no sense what-so-ever – and where the overarching principle have become to buy things – whether that is food, products or services. We have come to a point where our traditions have become so watered and nonsensical out that we have to step in and make our own – and that is GREAT. We have to individually remake and recreate the meaning and purpose of our holidays if we want them to matter and have a positive impact. I have done that with Christmas. To me this holiday is about relaxation, calm, contemplation, introspection and bonding with family. I did go out and cut down a spruce, and then I helped my daughter and sister to decorate it. And I did that because it was a supportive moment of bonding and creativity. My daughter enjoyed to hang all the various decorations in the tree – and even though it does not make any sense why we should decorate a spruce in such a way – it is a fun thing to do and it brought us closer together.

I have realized that I cannot turn to society to create value to my holidays. There is no supportive template out there – however – that is what makes it fun. And in this time and age, where secularization have literally washed away any and all forms of forceful piety, we can now do what we want to do. And because we are all individuals, with different needs, we are all going to want to have a different form of Christmas. There is not one way to celebrate a holiday – there are as many as there are humans. For example, some people might want to celebrate adventure and movement during their holiday – someone else might want to celebrate musical expression. What matters is that we do something for ourselves that has meaning, that is supportive, that is strengthening, that matters. And hell – we might even buy something for ourselves or another – a treat – that is going to have a positive impact in our or their life. Consumption in itself is not bad – it is how we do it. We have become mindless consumer zombies, buying stuff without consideration or depth, allowing ourselves to be manipulated by the cunning marketing strategies of corporations that only care about profits.

The interesting thing is that we all seem to crave depth and meaning. The problem is that we look for it outside of ourselves. We try to find ‘our purpose’ or ‘meaning’ – try to find ‘our position in the world’ – which is also in a way consumerism – we believe that we will some day find our ready made direction/position – that we will step into and then everything from that point will be just fine. The thing is that we have to create purpose and meaning. And it does not have to be anything grand. What is important is WHO WE ARE within what we do – how do we approach it? Do we proceed with our life as just something to get through – or do we put our presence and attention HERE and really take part in it? This is the future as I see it: Self-directed and self-willed participation in reality that is meaningful – that creates ripples of support for ourselves and others.


 

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