Commercialism at Christmas? Bring it On!

Mia & Grace at the Atlantic Hotel in Berlin, MD

St. Anthony of Padua said, “Love is eternal; so that without love, all efforts are vain, no matter how much good we accomplish.”  Love is what lies beneath the surface at Christmas, and best flourishes in the spirit of humility.

Every year someone will invariably proclaim disgust regarding the commercialization of Christmas, but I generally ignore these proclamations.  Commercialism doesn’t diminish Christmas.  It’s rarely the presents or shopping or decorations that we recall in our Christmas memories.  It’s always the people we remember, and the experiences shared with people; experiences that occur when possessions and the trappings of this world are stripped away, and humility – the true understanding of who we are – arises and creates magic moments where time stands still.

These become our Christmas memories… the affirmation of a child’s imagination, school pageants, singing Christmas carols, little hands gripping the banister during the rush downstairs on Christmas morning, family dinners and gatherings, the first Christmas away from home, the first Christmas in a new home… these are the things we remember, and it’s the warmth of these experiences that generate meaning and cause us to continue to look forward to Christmas year after year.

~Exerpt from Burgoyne Christmas Letter 2007

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  1. Maura Brooks5:22 PM

    Very true Mindie.

    Thinking about it my childhood memories are not of the commercialism, but maybe thats because out in the Irish countryside there wasn't much to be commercial about! Abiding memories include:
    my mother plucking the feathers off the turkey in the shed - with me avoiding eye contect in case she asked me do pluck or gut it instead (I did do it eventually)
    coming home from school during December and forgetting said turkey was hanging (by its claws) from a high kitchen cupboard. When you banged the back door back, it bounced off the turkey, which swung round the door, and you got smacked in the face with its cold beak / feathered head -arrgh
    my father making a fuss about hanging up his stocking, opening the stocking on Christmas morning, then pretending to cry when there was only bits of turf in it and my mother exclaiming "you must have been bad, Daddy, for Santa not to bring you any toys!"
    Many other memories, too many to write here. Poignant ones too, my mother died suddenly at Christmas, and I remember the wake, with 1500 people coming to the house. So many people gathering to support us - as communities do at good times and bad.
    And above all, I think Christmas is a time of great change and new beginnings. Time to reflect and remember

  2. Oh Maura.. how true. I love the image of your Daddy crying because Santa found him naughty. Hee hee hee.

    I've often prayed, "Lord don't let me die at Christmas. It would affect all future Christmas job for my loved ones." But the outpouring of kindness generated by those who love us is also a fair memory in its own right.

    So glad I've gotten to know you through Facebook, Maura. What a gift!


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