Evolution of Meaning of Christmas

Ms. Cahill's Raggedy Ann and Andy dolls along with her Holly Hobby doll

Ms. Cahill’s Raggedy Ann and Andy dolls along with her Holly Hobby doll

Hannah Boben, Veritas Staff

Imagine waking up Christmas morning, and rushing to find many presents under your magical tree. The gifts include everything you could have ever imagined and more.

But see the bigger picture here: are we letting presents take over the true Christmas meaning? Absolutely.

In the early 1900s, children were lucky if their families could provide one small gift.But back then, there was a completely different generation, a different mind set and a different meaning of Christmas. Christmas wasn’t about gifts. Instead, it was about family traditions, joy and newly gained ambitions for the new year to come.

While, today there are signs of the true meaning of Christmas in some, gift receiving and giving has become the holiday season’s main priority. Also, gifts are much more expensive.

Gifts have gone from crayons to virtual drawing tablets, a pair of mittens to designer clothes, board games to video games. Technology and eye grabbing expensive gifts are all on today’s children’s radar. People are spending hundreds, even thousands of dollars on gifts that may be irrelevant next year.

Thus the big question on many people’s minds: Is this commercialization of Christmas and concentration on gift giving a good evolution of Christmas in which to raise your children?

Cara Boben says, “It’s too commercialized. It doesn’t mean the same anymore; it’s just all about buy this, buy that. It is so different now from when I was a kid. It was so much more magical and exciting and about family. It was amazing, but now it’s just another day.”

Spanish teacher, Mrs. Shaughnessy said that when she was younger “Christmas was more about family time; but now it’s more about getting the best deals, the prettiest gifts and the most expensive gifts and how many gifts are under the tree.”

She also said, “We’re focusing on teaching our daughter, Caroline, the exact opposite, and how it’s always about spending time together.”

Both Mrs. Boben and Mrs. Shaughnessy feel this evolution of Christmas takes away from the true meaning of Christmas.

Boben said, “This is not a good evolution for children growing up with presents, presents, presents. It meant so much more, but so many children now will never get the chance to experience it like we did.”

“I think it is not a good evolution because I think it teaches kids to be narcissistic, self-absorbed and all about who has what, and I think it’s very sad. It all depends on how your family is. If you can stay with your family traditions then you will be okay raising your own kids,” Mrs. Shaughnessy said.

While English teacher Ms. Cahill admits that gifts were simpler when she was growing up, she said, “It is not a question of better or worse; gifts are just different.  If I were growing up now, I would want an iPhone, instead of the Raggedy Ann doll that I got and still have.” She also said, referring to her doll, that gifts seemed to be more personal.

This evolution of Christmas is not recognized by children who have only experienced Christmas in their way.

But when adults explain the old way to them, children agree that this evolution is changing the shape of future generations in an unhealthy way.

Matthew O’Brien says, “I don’t think this is a good evolution of Christmas because it doesn’t mean the same. Children should be playing outside and being social instead of being inside playing electronic games all day. It’s all about presents now.”

Riley Fichtner said, “This absolutely is not a good evolution because to kids, presents are everything and they think they can get  what they want. Their parents, however,  give it to them, facing a bigger problem occurring with parents teaching their kids the wrong meaning of Christmas.”

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