Pay it Forward this Christmas

In the last few years, there’s been a lot of debate about the political correctness of saying ‘Happy Holidays’ or ‘Seasons Greetings’ instead of ‘Merry Christmas’.  There has been some strong resistance to saying the more inclusive and universal ‘Happy Holidays’, and in fact some very xenophobic and prejudiced attitudes towards ‘other religions’ trying to ‘take Christmas away from us’.  Not only is this not in the spirit of love and compassion that the holidays (whichever holiday it might be) are meant to represent, but people have lost sight of what they think Christmas should represent as well.  What is it about Christmas that people are so adamant about defending?

Santa Carrying Shopping Bags

Since most or at least very many people who celebrate Christmas are not religious in the traditional sense, Christmas has come to represent values of giving to others, sharing happiness, joy and love.  However, the actions that people take in the name of Christmas are hardly in keeping with these values.  Christmas has become a time of lavishness; of mass consumption and mass wasting.  ‘Giving to others’ mainly occurs in the form of new and often unnecessary commodities, given to those people closest to us who we expect will give us a gift in return.  ‘Giving’ means purchasing mass quantities of goods, wrapping them, and then wasting all of the packaging and older goods that these new presents replace.  Boxing Day/Week is the pinnacle of unnecessary spending and unnecessary waste, and predictably we will see fights breaking out in retail stores across North America similar to the Black Friday conflicts.

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As well, people consume monstrous amounts of food (mainly meat) and end up wasting what is not eaten.  This lavishness and over-consumption for some happens at the same time that others in our society, poorer people, have to file into soup kitchens and take what little they can get.  Is this a Christmas worth defending?

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Instead of buying into the false wants and false needs of consumer goods this Christmas, do the world a favour and pay it forward.  When thinking about ‘giving to others’, don’t consider what you need to buy for close friends and family, but think about what you already have that you could give and share with those less fortunate than yourself.  Give what you can to charities and food drives.  Offer your time to people who need it.  Think about gifts that you can give to others that don’t need to be bought at a store, but that you can make yourself, or experiences that you can provide for people without spending a dollar.  Do good deeds for anyone you see around you, whether they be your close friends or not, and instead of expecting something in return, tell them to pay it forward.  If consumerism is about greed, luxury, and waste, Christmas need not be associated with that.  Christmas can truly be about sharing, helping, and bringing joy to everyone in society –not just those who can afford to buy it.

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2 Comments on “Pay it Forward this Christmas”

  1. Andrew December 24, 2012 at 6:08 pm #

    Truth.

  2. ideflex December 27, 2012 at 12:52 am #

    We need to pay it forward way before Christmas… and most definitely after! Thanks for visiting.

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