Try a Zen Christmas

December 11, 2007|By DANIELLE HIGGINS / Pulse Correspondent

This year, I'm feeling very "Bah Humbug" about the whole Christmas season. In the past, I have always been fairly excited, happy to put up decorations and to find the perfect gifts.

This year, I was not even able to come up with something I wanted for Christmas.

I've never understood people who could not get into the Christmas spirit. In fact, I have scorned them, certain that they were cold-hearted and bitter. Now, it seems like those Christmas cynics may have the right idea.

It is not Christmas itself that I have an issue with but with what the holiday has become. It is just an excuse to outdo each other - to give the very best gift, to make our house look brighter and better than our neighbor's, to score the holiday's hot toy. How much of that really matters?

Who can even remember what last year's must-have toy was? The Wii seems fantastic now, flying off the shelves in minutes after shipments come in. But a year from now there will be something else. There's always something else.


What is terrible is "what we think we need" is decided for us by someone else.

Stores start to market Christmas to us before the last of the trick-or-treaters leave the streets. Inundating us with ads for months, stores hypnotize us into believing we need this gadget, that cute top, that game.

That's the thing: Corporate America seems to think it understands what we need. The Christmas season is certainly a holly-jolly time for business owners the world over.

Through it all, we are constantly reminded - by Hollywood moviemakers of all people! - to look for the true meaning of Christmas. Think of all the movies that center on the Christmas spirit.

Yet, we rarely find it. It's buried under the materialism and stress that have become neo-Christmas traditions.

This year I am opting out of the hype. Sure, on Christmas morning, I'll unwrap a gift from someone who loves me. The gift will be something stores convinced this person I might like. And I probably will like it.

So here's my personal prescription for living Christmas spirit and not just giving Christmas things:

One thing I'll do this holiday season is think. Think about what I really need. Is it even something I want? When I buy gifts, think about why I am buying a gift. Is it just because it is the newest, sleekest, hottest gadget of the year? Or will it truly be an expression of love and appreciation?

Also, I will remember those who are suffering, who are not as well off as me. I will be thankful, and I will give rather than ask. It seems simple, but just being aware can make a world of difference.

Maybe I'm not a Christmas cynic after all. I do have hope for what the holidays can be. I have faith that people can remember what Christmas is really about.

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