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Christmas: Nothing more than a consumer festival?

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Hector Fraser argues that the real reasons why we should be celebrating the 25th of December seem increasingly forgotten amongst the constant clamour of the consumerist bandwagon.

The first time I started thinking about Christmas this year was when I saw a group of girlfriends watching a laptop in the dining hall last weekend, one or two of them practically brushing away tears. When I wandered over to see what the commotion was about, it turned out that the cause of this emotion was the new John Lewis Christmas advert, entitled, the Bear and the Hare.

Photo Credit: B4bees via Compfight cc
Photo Credit: B4bees via Compfight cc

A further half an hour was spent by all of us, remembering our favourite Christmas adverts, all of us associating them with Christmas memories, and forgetting that their actual purpose was to promote their companies’ products at this time of shopping frenzy.

The commercialization of the festive period is apparent wherever you go. During the build up to the 25th of December, images of consumerism seep into our systems through a constant barrage of information about the latest deals, the must have presents, and the perfect way to cook the turkey. As Christmas Eve arrives, and the presents have been bought, the Christmas cards received, and the relatives have turned up a few hours earlier than they were asked, the vast majority of people have not paid much thought to the reason why this festival takes place. Of course the religious element of Christmas is the fundamental basis behind the culture of consumerism.

Throughout ones school years, Christmas services and nativities are used to reinforce the message of Christ, and many people do not lose sight of that message.

Midnight mass, or the Christmas morning Church service makes one think about the birth of Jesus and the Three Wise men. The religious messages on the importance of the birth of God’s son to the Christian faith are reinforced, but the Church service on Christmas Day increasingly is done by the younger generations because its part of the programme of the day, rather than through any religious compulsion.

Of course Christmas Day should be about family fun, laughter and presents, yet in today’s society, the real reasons why we should be celebrating the 25th of December seem increasingly forgotten amongst the constant clamour of the consumerist bandwagon. As a friend once said to me ‘for me Christmas is about presents, I don’t know about the Jesus stuff.’

Hector Fraser

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