Christmas trees decked with glittering bulbs and a plethora of varied ornaments. The nutcrackers are standing by the fireplace, and stockings are hung from the mantle. Perfectly wrapped presents pile up on the tree skirt, and lights are strung outdoors.
Venture outside the home to go to the store, and a whirlwind of Christmas smacks you in the face.
There are men dressed as Santa Claus everywhere. Sorry to pop the bubble, but it isn’t the real Santa walking around Macy’s.
There are cutouts of snowflakes dangling from retailer’s ceilings, and a multitude of advertising promotes all the best deals on presents for your sweetheart.
Then, on the way home, you drive by a church.
A Manger scene is set up out front — Mother Mary stares lovingly at baby Jesus. The three wise men bearing gifts are near. The angels are posed to look like they’re staring down from Heaven onto the crown of Jesus.
Shouldn’t the second experience be what we focus on during the Christmas season?
The gifts and the all the tinsel are lovely.
Receiving gifts is a warm feeling, as is giving them. Seeing children’s faces light up when they see real reindeer at Hen House is priceless.
But, at the root of all of this should be what Christmas is all about — peace and love, not money.
Every year, Christmas becomes more and more commercialized. It becomes who can spend the most, how retail sales compare to last year and when salespeople push eight different perfumes at customers to try.
In the end, at the rate our holiday seasons tend to go, most people end up stressed and angry.
And that is far from what the holidays should feel like.
The Christmas season is a time to enjoy those around us, not spend money we don’t have to try to impress someone who will love us regardless.
Make homemade gifts, form a secret Santa group, participate in white elephant or draw names out of a hat and just buy one gift.
The people you give gifts to don’t care about how much you spend. They care about the feeling and love you put into it.