What is the True Meaning of Christmas?

As I mentioned in the article about Danni’s Party we went shopping yesterday for a new evening suit. However, with the ever earlier start to Christmas Shopping, Christmas in the stores was in full swing. In fact this year Christmas in Tesco started even before Halloween had finished! (Although in Aylesbury they started even earlier…)

It seems like many people it bugs me that Christmas has become more and more about spending money. On the one hand the media are highlighting the problems of consumer debt, and yet on the other there is a decided confusion over the true meaning of Christmas with four out of five parents saying that they thought that Christmas was about spoiling their children, and yet 87% of them also said that they thought that children needed to learn the true meaning of Christmas! Yet the survey says that on average parents will spend £150 per child.

On his Youthblog the Diocesan Youth Officer has highlighted the Buy Nothing Christmas Campaign, started by Canadian Mennonites on the West Coast of Canada in 2000.

They are inviting Christians (and others) all over Canada to join a movement to de-commercialize Christmas and re-design a Christian lifestyle that is richer in meaning, smaller in impact upon the earth, and greater in giving to people less-privileged.

Over the past couple of years at St James we have tried to do something similar on a smaller scale with our Christmas Cards. Whereas in the past hundreds of cards would be given between members of the Church, everybody is now encouraged to recycle a single Christmas Card to everybody in the Church and hang it on the tree. The money we save on Christmas Cards is then given to charity instead.

The Buy Nothing Christmas Campaign works in a similar way, encouraging people to group together and buy one present each for another person in the group, or to make presents for each other, or give a some of your time as a gift. It’s important to stress that the idea is not to not give presents – as the site says

Giving gifts at Christmas is a good thing to do – it’s a small re-enactment of the incarnation of God’s love.

However the point that it is making is that by going overboard and buying big presents, and spending vast sums of money, we are losing the real meaning of Christmas in amongst the consumerism.

The site has lots of different ideas, and resources describing ways that you can get involved in the campaign, and try to focus on the true meaning of Christmas.

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