Billboards really can have a lasting effect

Maybe I am not ready to let go of Christmas just yet. Though in fall fairness I do not celebrate Christmas as long as everyone else. I feel like in today’s society we practically start celebrating in July. I love Christmas, don’t get me wrong, but I believe that every holiday has its place and Christmas is after Thanksgiving.  So thus the last little bit of November and most of December is when I begin to celebrate. Over the years I have come to appreciate the fact we celebrate Christmas because that is the day Jesus is born more so than any other reasons the holidays give us. I believe that Christmas time is a time for family and friends. I also believe that we don’t have to give five thousand presents to everyone in order for them to love us. Our love should be spread by giving each other our time. Sometimes effort. Merely sending a card or baking some goodies suffices.

Before I get further into my post though, if there are little kids around that can read and still believe, if you catch my drift, stop now.  Come back and read this later.  I am not going to be the person ruining this for anyone.

Now, back to our regularly scheduled program.  I brought this up around Thanksgiving as well, but these thoughts have lingered in my head since then. Part of that is because of an image I saw and a conversation with my friend earlier in December. The image in question is the following:

Can of worms, everywhere.

Santa Claus. By definition he is a jolly old man in a red suit that comes down our chimneys every Christmas to deliver us toys. This is one of the first lies we ever tell our children. We lie to them about The Tooth Fairy and the Easter Bunny too, but for some reason Santa is the one that kind of lingers and stays around for future generations. Santa has become the reason why children should behave at Christmas time. Not the fact that they naturally just should behave and want to do good for others, because Santa sees you when you’re sleeping and he knows when you’re awake. Santa, or some elf for that matter, should not be the reason a child suddenly starts behaving. This is something that should take place all year long.

Some will argue that Santa brings on a Christmas spirit within their children. And maybe to some degree that is true. Maybe that is even true for the elf that reeks havoc that arrives from the North Pole to help Santa keep an eye on children. I feel to some degree that Santa stirs up a Christmas spirit inside most children. In a way, he is the representation of our Christmas spirit, but over time Santa should not be the end all of everything. We should be teaching each other to appreciate, love, and accept one another. We should be teaching others that being kind to one another is more important than the amount of presents under our tree. A helping hand is much more appreciated, or should be, than the latest iPhone.

And this is not an attitude that magically disappears because of a guy in a red suit making his way into our lives mid-October. I say that because most of the ads now start in October much to my dismay. Make sure you get a head start on getting your loved ones these high priced items. Make sure you come on Thanksgiving night before or after your meal to get the best deals. This year a Walmart employee told a friend of mine that they did not have any Black Friday deals. If there was anything left over from the sales on Thursday evening those turned into the Black Friday deals while supplies lasted. When did it become such a big deal to get those big ticket items? When did we stop spending time with family, though I know some will argue Black Friday shopping is a family event, to get the latest and greatest?

What makes this worse is the trickle down effect of this that takes place. If Santa cannot afford to get their children a certain gift does that child start to look at Santa differently? Is that sign above right? Does that child start to feel unworthy of such an item because Santa Claus could not deliver? The idea behind Santa has the potential to put an unprecedented amount of pressure not only on a child, but the parent as well. Think about all the single parents out there who are barely scraping by between shelter, food, utilities, and transportation because their job pays them pennies. This is not because they do not try to save up, but they need this money to continue barely scrap by. Then Christmas comes around and Santa is supposed to deliver.

Ultimately, despite the fact I’ve been left pondering these questions most of the month, I still believe in Santa. Should I ever have children I will be a willing participant in the Santa facade. I think this is in part because this is a tradition in a weird way. A tradition that most of the world partakes in. And while I’m not one to follow someone off the bridge and jump, I want to have a blend of a whimsical experience for my future children as well as the truth. Ultimately, even if their friend down the street gets more from Santa, I feel that I would stress that Christmas isn’t about Santa. Yes, Christmas is a celebration, but this is not a holiday about what we get, but rather what we give. While trying to make a child understand material things are not all that important in the long run, the lesson is an important one to attempt instead of learning that if we are good all year a guy in a red suit will give them everything they want.

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