It would be wonderful to say that the joy of the season made this author content to simply give without wanting anything in return.

But that would be disingenuous because I want something this Christmas.

So here’s the columnist’s wish list, part Scrooge, part Santa:

I wish… Christmas was less commercial like it used to be.

This sentiment is not rooted in naivety, as shopping and gift giving will always be a part of the season.

But the material aspect of Christmas has taken on a life of its own, erasing the message of this special time of year.

It’s gotten to the point where merchandising has monopolized the entire month of December—and, truth be told, much earlier, as it’s not uncommon to see holiday displays that begin in early fall, ditching Thanksgiving.

And that’s a tragedy because we should take a lesson from Turkey Day.

Unlike Christmas, Thanksgiving doesn’t expect gifts, parties, and festivities. On the contrary, it is the only true day in America when family and friends gather to reflect, remember, rejoice — and enjoy simply being with each other.

More often than not, the result is a celebration that revives the soul and fosters a spirit of goodwill before Christmas.

But most of that camaraderie disappears with the onslaught of Black Friday and the never-ending rat race.

The shops are crowded, the traffic is a nightmare, and we’re so intent on chasing all the wrong things that we forget the true meaning of Christmas – often becoming snarling Grinches who bring out the worst in us, making the words “Merry Christmas” ring completely hollow.

It is impossible to eliminate these stresses. But maybe, just maybe, if we put the commercialization a bit on the back burner in favor of family-oriented activities — board games in front of the fire, roasting S’mores together, driving around to see Christmas lights, all cell phone-free — spirit , which made Christmas night so special around 2020 years ago, will once again take center stage and fill our lives with deeper meaning.

Speaking of gifts, I wish Christmas would also become more personalized, like actually thinking about gift shopping. It’s incredible how many people “have no idea” what to get a family member or close friend.

So after about 10 seconds of “thinking” the default gift is a gift card or booze. These things aren’t “bad” gifts per se, but to be honest, they’re often staples because they’re the easy way out.

In other words, if we don’t know the people closest to us well enough to buy them an important gift, it’s an indictment of our priorities.

It’s even worse when people – especially those in Pollyanna – immediately call the wife of the person they’ve chosen, asking exactly what they want.

So, when it’s time for the gift, the recipient already knows exactly what he’s unwrapping. Seriously? What is the matter?

If we can’t stop watching the booze long enough to make the effort to choose a gift that suits the person’s tastes, then maybe this kind of gift giving should go the way of the dodo. That way, at least we would save time, money, and effort—and not pretend to be surprised.

There’s nothing in the world quite like a child opening presents—each a new surprise—on Christmas morning.

So, while we fondly remember those feelings of elation and wonder, why have we allowed our ‘grown-up’ selves to spoil the spirit of Christmas giving and receiving? Let’s hope that the magic of Santa Claus will remember what gift-giving was supposed to be.

I wish … people would take five seconds to sign their Christmas cards, giving an almost extinct gift called personal interaction.

Given that many are usually waiting in line at driveways 10 cars deep (or more), we won’t have time.

In an age where everything is electronic and 90 percent of coffee shop patrons are looking at their phones instead of talking to the person in front of them, taking the time to give a personal touch restores faith that we haven’t completely lost that most unique trait: our humanity.

I wish that … people who go to church on Christmas could at least leave their Eagles jerseys at home and put on something more appropriate to enter the house of God on the holiest day of the year

In order not to sound like a holy video, but is it true that you can’t find a better one?

However, a caveat. If all you’ve got is a 1999 Christmas sweater, well, by all means, wear the green eagle.

I wish … people would take a step back and realize that America is infinitely stronger than the political shenanigans would have us believe.

President Barack Obama did not “destroy America,” as many Republicans predicted after his election, just as the United States did not turn into a dictatorship subservient to Russia when Donald Trump came to power.

And we will continue to be the “City on a Shining Hill” during and after President Joe Biden’s presidency.

Disagreeing with our leaders is not only normal, but also healthy, if we do it respectfully, from a well-thought-out position.

But obsessing over agenda-driven political news feeds and making ourselves exciting simply because we don’t like the outcome of the election or politics will destroy us deep down.

Too many friendships and family ties have been destroyed – decades of personal history erased from memory – simply because people could not civilly “agree to disagree”.

At this point, it doesn’t really matter who “wins” a legislative victory or triumphs at the ballot box, because if we refuse to see ourselves as Americans first and partisans second, we all lose.

Let’s hope Santa puts a little humility under the tree to keep the holiday spirit with us throughout 2023. There can be no better gift.

Chris Freund is an independent columnist and commentator whose column is published weekly. He can be reached at Follow him on Twitter @chrisfreind

Source link

Previous articleAn MTA guard who was looking for a fare collector shot an assailant at the Union Street station during an argument, police say
Next articleFrank Harris, Pittsburgh Steelers Hall of Famer who performed at Immaculate Conception, dies at age 72