Missing the point of Christmas

The weekly editorial for the 100 Mile Free Press

Christmas is just around the corner. For many people, Christmas is about having a bit of a break from the daily bustle of life and making sure that you’re spending some quality time with family and friends.

Increasingly we seem to be missing the point of that a little. The days leading up to Christmas seems to be getting busier and busier, with more and more interruptions and increasingly we are getting further away from the real point of Christmas.

Recently the federal government forced Canada Post workers back to work. After all, the holiday season was coming up and people needed to be able to get all the Christmas presents they ordered online. This truly underlines how important online shopping seems to have become but it is also completely missing the point.

Christmas shopping is really an activity that should be done along local shopping streets, in local malls and shops. Of course, supporting local retailers is important but that’s not why (or at least not the main reason).

The real reason you should do local shopping is that it’s a far more Christmassy experience. You have two scenarios here.

In one, you are glued to your screen, whether phone, tablet or computer, going through webpage after webpage to find the best deal. The heavily dedicated will even have their days leading up to Christmas interrupted with price alerts and the like. What follows next is a stressful, nail-biting experience hoping that the packages arrive in time, are undamaged and not accidentally picked up by the significant other they’re intended for.

On the other hand, you could take a friend or family member, and spend a day with them looking at gifts, having a laugh while shopping for presents for other friends and family members. As you’re going around town, especially if choosing to do so on a busy shopping day, you may well run into other community members, friends and family. You may stop for chats and enjoy lunch or tea together.

Now you could choose the first, in order to try and save time buying presents (at least until you have to call a bunch of times because your package never showed up) and, like Scrooge, make sure you save what’s usually a minuscule amount of money, though I suppose you’d save money not having lunch with a friend.

Or, you could embrace that while it’s really nice to get presents, that’s not really what Christmas is about. When we asked some more “mature” residents this year about their favourite Christmas memory, they all spoke about time spent with family. It’s doubtful that once we get to be Scrooge’s age, we’ll care whether we found an absolute “steal” 40 years earlier but a day spent with a sister, mom or son might just be priceless.

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