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The Death of the Jolly Old Elf

Is This the Demise of Santa Claus?

Ceramic nativity scene with two pillar candles providing illuminationThe anti-commercialization sentiments over the Christmas holiday seems to be growing as more and more people display their dissatisfaction with the overwhelming excess the holiday has come to represent. One such person was so upset over the exploitation of Christmas, in protest he hung a Santa Claus dummy from a noose on his front porch. Needless to say such a perceived negative public demonstration didn’t go over very well and the story made yesterday’s local news.

The message of Santa’s broken neck was not a display of anti Christmas or even anti Santa, rather it was meant to project the protester’s irritation over the increasing holiday greed and overspending. As soon as the news story hit the airwaves the Santa was taken down with statement that there was never an intention to offend anyone.

While hanging Santa from a noose was a drastic and misguided action, once I understood his belief that Christmas is about the birth of Christ Jesus I could feel his exasperation behind the move. After all I used to think Black Friday was crazed enough never knowing that years down the road we would have Small Business Saturday, Cyber Monday, and Giving Tuesday all with the express purpose of getting the almighty dollar.

Should we support local businesses and donate to charity? Beyond a doubt we should do this throughout the year and have days set aside as special reminders of our civic duties. I just don’t think doing it around Christmas is the proper timing.

As time goes on I’ve seen Christmas get bigger, more overblown, and pretentious than I ever thought possible. From decorations, marked up sales, the latest techno gadgets to overextending ourselves to the point of going into the New Year in debt it doesn’t make sense.

Ask any struggling single parent, elderly person on a fixed income, an unemployed person, or anyone fighting to make ends meet and they’ll tell you that prioritizing everyday rules the day especially around Christmas. There is no keeping up with the Jones es because the reality is this: there is no extra cash flow during the holidays. When you have to choose between a prescription for a chronic disease, eating a meal or paying the electric bill who cares about a hover board or a flat screen TV?

From that silent night upon Jesus Christ’s birth approximately 2,000 years ago, a day that represents peace, joy, happiness and love it seems we’ve lost our way. Instead of peace we have turmoil, instead of joy there’s melancholy, instead of happiness we are in despair and instead of love we choose hatred.

I’m not saying that people shouldn’t buy gifts, decorate or even have host a fabulous Christmas dinner. What I am saying is let’s give a little more thought to the reason for the holiday and the gift giving process. Following are just a few practical suggestions for gifts of the heart that will make a lasting impact:

  • Dropping off anonymous fixin’s for a Christmas dinner to a neighbor(s) in need
  • Donating blood to the local blood bank
  • Giving food or funds to the local food bank
  • Volunteering at a soup kitchen
  • Donating clothing, toys, personal care items to a women’s shelter
  • Visiting the home-bound, sick, or elderly in the hospital or nursing home
  • Spending time with someone who is lonely
  • Helping out the family of an active service member or veteran
  • Becoming an organ donor
  • Providing respite for a caregiver
  • Donating food and or volunteering at a local homeless shelter

Jesus came to save the world, wouldn’t he want us to save one another?

For to us a child is born,
    to us a son is given;
and the government shall be upon his shoulder,
    and his name shall be called
Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God,
    Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.
~Isaiah 9:6 English Standard Version (ESV)

31 thoughts on “The Death of the Jolly Old Elf

  1. The problem society has is the commercialization of Christ’s Birth being propogated by sinners “unbelievers in the Lord Jesus Christ,” so when this happens, you have individuals who have lived ungodly lifestyles all year long who are now trying to promote the celebration of a Holy and Sacred event while playing on the conscious of other sinners who ignored Christ all year long, and are now trying to make up for the guilt by spending excess money on people who they didn’t care enough about to give them the gift of God’s Love all year long!

    1. Hi Ms. Sahiyena, thank you so much for stopping by and leaving such an insightful comment. You make a valid point on the excess spending being driven by guilt. We are such a hollow society and it’s so sad where we are headed.

  2. Stephanae, every one of these suggestions are great reminders of the possibilities of the holiday, in helping us to extend ourselves—just a little— all year round. Love it.

      1. We should probably all take it more to heart. I suggested this to someone else not too long ago. You know, like an idea along the lines of a program, similar to a Peace Corp type operation, but where Americans help others with these kind of needs, and doing it all year round.

      2. Yes, all year round is key.

  3. nicely said Stephanae.

  4. Wonderful message, great suggestions. Always on point, Steph!

  5. Love this post Steph! The fuss that comes with Christmas shopping, gifts, which neighbour has more & better decorations this year, etc., when there is so much suffering in the world, leaves a bad taste.

    1. Thank you Khaya. Yeah it’s always bothered me but what’s made this year a little different than previous years is sort of a ramping up of dissatisfaction with how we taken a lovely holiday and turned into a cash cow. I’m so loving the idea of simplicity.

  6. Just think of all of the little children who saw that poor Jolly Elf. However, I agree that Christmas is just too commercial. People just go crazy this time of year and that is an even greater crime.
    Many blessings,

    kSherri

    1. Thank you Sherri. One of the people that was interviewed by the news team expressed the same thoughts. While they agreed with what Christmas represents they just felt the guy could have gone about it differently.

  7. Stephanae I agree with most of this post but I do like “giving Tuesday”, inserted near Christmas and all the other buying frenzy days of Black Friday and Cyber Monday as to me, it reminds people that giving to charities is just as important during this over-commercialized frenzy. Pay pal will match donate an extra %1 of any donation made through them during the month of Dec. So to me, it does remind people to care for others.

    I like your various suggestions.

    I used to go into debt every Christmas to buy presents for my only child I was raising alone, and for my Mom. It was crazy!

    1. As always thank you so much for your thoughtful comments Katelon. Regarding Giving Tuesday, I would be interested in seeing the data that indicates the funding received by charities on this particular day vs. the rest of the year. Bruce, one of my other followers from sportsattitudes posted an interesting statistic that estimates people will spend 37 hours doing their holiday shopping in 2015, more than twice the 15 hours they’ll spend helping charities over the entire year. We’ll have to wait and see what the final numbers will be after Christmas.

      I can relate to the craziness of the single parent scenario as I did the same with my three sons. Looking back I sometimes wonder how we possibly made it through.

      1. Wow…raising 3 sons alone. My one son was a handful, plus I had severe asthma, migraines and off and on depression which didn’t help.

      2. Yup, if I wasn’t there I’d have a hard time believing it myself hahaha. I also have asthma and depression and now that I think about it, it really was a miracle I survived. My middle son was diagnosed with ADHD when he was in first grade but prior to that he was kicked out of several day cares and never finished kindergarten. Hmmm maybe he’s the reason for the depression? Nah, it was always there but it was a struggle.

      3. I understand. I grew up so severely ill and died a couple times. Doctors said I’d never make it to 30 and I’m 64 and active. No more depression or migraines either. In 78 I started studying holistic therapies and made it my career. Sorry you had to suffer so much.

      4. Oh my Katelon!!! You really had it rough my situation doesn’t even come close in comparison. Glad to hear you have no more depression and that you also proved the doctors wrong.

  8. Thoughtful post, with life distractions we can sometimes forget what truly matters this time of year and everyday. Love the little singer with the big voice, Oh that note she holds towards the end, amazing!

    1. Thank you for stopping by and commenting Jen. That little girl is amazing isn’t she? I was thinking of posting something from Josh Groban but I came across this video of hers and loved it so much I had to share.

  9. Steph, this is a message we all need to heed. I think there has been a bit of a bigger backlash this season more than in past about the commercialization of the Holidays and that’s a very good thing. We can start out by closing all the stores on Thanksgiving…everything…movies, restaurants, convenience stores, etc. NO ONE is open or works on Thanksgiving Day…or Night. Black Friday sales then begin at 6 AM on that day and not a moment…let alone a month…before hand. That would be a good start as far as the whole shopping nonsense. Then, we take your checklist and spend the month of December completing each task as best we can…not forgetting for a moment people are in need 365 days a year. Volunteers are needed year-round just like food, clothing, shelter, blood, etc. Great post!

    1. Thank you Bruce. I agree with you wholeheartedly on the closing of all stores on Thanksgiving. It’s especially needed now that we’re in such a tech heavy society. I was thrilled when I heard that not only was Nordstrom not open on Thanksgiving they also refused to have Christmas decorations put up before Thanksgiving. The shopping nonsense is totally out of control and when consumers subscribe to the idiocy of these retailers we’re only making them richer on prices they’ve drastically marked up only to knock them down to near the original selling price for the holiday. It’s a scam that we’ve bought into and I wish there were a movement to stop the insanity. Spending time with family, friends, loved ones and those in need should be our priority not making greedy companies wealthier because when the New Year begins they are laughing all the way to the bank while we’re left scraping by..

      1. I just saw a survey of over 2,000 people by the Templeton Giving folks indicating Americans estimate they’ll spend 37 hours Holiday shopping this season, more than twice the 15 hours they’ll spend helping charities over the entire year. Sad.

      2. That is pathetic. I’m gonna keep my eye out on the final numbers after the holiday.

  10. This is such an insightful message! Thank you for sharing it.

    Blessings,
    Theresa

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