Why Christmas makes me angry

“Christmas is Jesus’s birthday. Now, I don’t know Jesus, but from what I’ve read Jesus is the least materialistic person to ever roam the earth . . . and we turned his birthday into the most materialistic day of the year.” ~ Chris Rock

For Christians, Christmas is a day to contemplate the birth of Jesus–to consider how much God must have loved humanity to be born into human form.

Somewhere along the way, trees, ornaments, carols, and gifts were thrown in. Especially gifts.

I got angry the other day when I listened to this quote about gift-giving from Brad Barrett on the ChooseFI podcast:

“(My wife) and I do not do presents for anything: birthdays, Christmas, Valentine’s Day, nothing. We do essentially no presents; maybe a tiny little thing for Christmas that’s ten or twenty dollars at most. All these holidays that people are frantically trying to find (gifts) for their significant other and spending hundreds of dollars, I just really don’t understand that. What is it? Is it a show of love? To me, it’s like a substitute for happiness. That’s why we try to focus on what actually makes us happy in life, as opposed to looking forward to these trinkets at holidays . . . There are better ways to show that you love someone than to go out and waste money that you don’t have.”

Co-host Jonathan Mendosa replied with this:

“In many cases when you’re buying a present for someone there’s an emotional component that’s added onto it because that present is almost an apology for the lack of time you’ve spent (with that person). For that one day the present says, ‘Hey, I appreciate you. I know I don’t get to spend a lot of time with you, but here’s this amazing present that’s going to make up for twelve months of ignoring you or not being able to spend any time with you.'”

I get angry because this might be true for me. It might be true for you, too.

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