gift giving
Is the focus on gift giving taking the meaning out of Christmas?

When it comes to Christmas, what is the first thing you think of? Perhaps it is opening gifts on Christmas day? Or taking your children to see Santa? Maybe it's making gingerbread houses with your kids, or waiting in seemingly endless lines to cross everyone off your Christmas gift list? Some people are worried Christmas is starting to become too commercialized. After all, it seems that advertisers start advertising their sales months in advance, and sometimes all children seem to care about is what they are asking Santa for this year. Since many consider the true meaning of Christmas to be celebrating the birth of Christ, these behaviors may be cause for concern. Even if you aren't religious, many people try to turn the focus on the holiday to spending time with family. So... has Christmas become too commercialized? And if so, what can we do about it?

Santa Claus

Children's belief in Santa Claus has been around for generations. Most children believe that every year on Christmas Eve, Santa slides down the chimney, fills their stockings with little knick-knacks and candy, and leaves them a gift under the Christmas tree. Usually, the present Santa leaves is whatever the child asked him for. Children will write letters to Santa, or parents will take children to see Santa Claus at their local mall. This tradition has been the same for many years, but it seems like most people are just now noticing how much the focus has shifted. However, is it really that bad? Think back to when you were a child. If you believed in Santa, it was probably one of the most magical times of your life. The thought that elves are in a workshop in the North Pole making toys for every good little boy and girl for Santa to deliver on Christmas Eve is exhilarating for a child. It also gives a bit of extra motivation to behave for their parents. Sure, the children shouldn't be focused solely on what they are getting for Christmas, but the belief in Santa Claus brings a degree of magic to a childhood, and it doesn't mean parents or children are focusing on the wrong thing. It's simply a fun tradition to have in families.

Gift Giving

Most people enjoy giving gifts more than they like receiving them. While it's exciting to see presents under the Christmas tree with your name on them, it's even more exciting to see a family member open a gift from you that you know he or she will love. It's natural for people to enjoy giving. Since that's what part of Christmas is about, it's important to focus on that. It's more than just buying presents for each other to enjoy. It's the joy that comes with shopping for the perfect gift, and waiting with great anticipation for Christmas morning. This is especially true if you have children. Knowing there is something under the tree your child will love is an exciting thing. There's nothing wrong with that.

The Right Focus

You can give many gifts and still have the right focus. If you are religious, make sure you are focusing on the true reason for the season. Take your family to church, and read the Christmas story out of the Bible. If you aren't religious, let this be a time you enjoy with family. There are several easy ways you can do this:

  • Drive around and look at Christmas lights together

  • Bake some Christmas cookies to deliver to neighbors and friends

  • Watch those cheesy Christmas movies together that everyone seems to love

You don't have to do anything fancy together to get quality time in. Sometimes the best times are the simplest times, such as conversations around the kitchen table. Keep that in mind when trying to decide how to spend your holiday.

There is absolutely nothing wrong with giving and receiving gifts on Christmas day. It's part of tradition and something that brings joy to everyone. However, that shouldn't be all you are focused on. Make sure you are bringing Christ into the season as well. If you don't celebrate Christmas for the birth of Christ, then try to spend some quality time with your family by doing some fun Christmas activities together. This will help you keep the true spirit of Christmas alive.


  1. Father Jim's Avatar Father Jim

    I agree with this 100 percent. I believe that there are numerous people that would also. Agree with this. We should all take time out in our lives and follow this . We would look at life somewhat different and others would in turn look at us different as well. The world would be a much better place for all. Brothers and Sisters. Jesus is the reason for the season. Spend time with your Family and Friends.

    1. Dr. Griffith's Avatar Dr. Griffith

      Just a reminder Minister Jim. Jesus is not the reason for the season for many, that is personal to you. Please respect the rest of us who do not believe that. Thank you and the Gods bless you.

    2. Rev. Jo-An Josephine's Avatar Rev. Jo-An Josephine

      It is vitally important to remember that not everyone follows Christianity or Christ, therefore some might not celebrate CHRISTmas. I for one do not celebrate the birth of Christ, because I do NOT believe that he was born on Dec 25. The bible states that he was FOUND on or near Dec 25th as he was already a few months old. That being said, Christmas as we know it today is TOO commercialized. Hubby and I do however celebrate, Friends and Family Feast Day. We do have a small gift exchange (following the path of Saint Christopher aka Santa Claus) and we celebrate the JOY of life, of Giving, of Love. We celebrate the simpler times and do NOT participate in the "hustle and bustle" of the Holidays. We DO follow both the Pagan path and the Native Path of life (essentially the same) with the changing of the season, the alignment of the stars and planets and the rebirth of the SUN. Bottom line is: This season is ALL about family, friends and love, no matter how you celebrate. Blessed Be and have a great and wonderful 2016

      1. Spiritual Healer Erma E Boyd's Avatar Spiritual Healer Erma E Boyd

        I also do not celebrate CHRISTmas. I have assumed from the reading of the christian bible that the 3 wise men found christ in the month of De. and gave him gifts. However, he was born in October, at least that was the last thing I read on the backward progression of the stars and the configuration that is mentioned. To me to many worship the time of greed/giving of gifts then the simpler things of life, like love. Blessed Be

  1. Pastor Mary's Avatar Pastor Mary

    All of us have different beliefs. We celebrate with the nativity movie, christian, Santa gifts, mistletoe, winter snow, Christmas trees and lights, and I, like every year, do what I need to do to make my elderly mother and disabled sister very happy. This year we decorated with wrapping paper on the walls, and snowflakes and Christmas bulbs hanging from the ceiling. It was glorious to see them happy.

  1. Gallet Christ Sampu's Avatar Gallet Christ Sampu


  1. Dr. Tinsley Keefe's Avatar Dr. Tinsley Keefe

    I absolutely agree that some of the greatest things about Christmas are the times when we get together with family. I also think it is a wonderful time to remember about being loving and kind and generous with other people. While I am not religious, Christmas can be a wonderful way to take a break from work, spending time with family and friends, and remembering about being a loving person. To me, that is the absolute best part about Christmas. ❤️?

    -Dr. John Keefe II,

    1. Dr. Griffith's Avatar Dr. Griffith

      Just beautiful,

    2. Rev. Jo-An Josephine's Avatar Rev. Jo-An Josephine

      Very well said Sir.

  1. Don Hayes's Avatar Don Hayes

    After clearing out my parents' house last fall I am convinced we are too focused on stuff all year long. I took a look at my own house and saw the same situation! We need to focus on time - time with our families, friends, co-workers, and supporting others in our communities. And that focus on time must be all year long.

  1. Minister LaTeece's Avatar Minister LaTeece

    Why is the church supporting a event like Christmas for it is a Pagon ritual for winter solstice. Jeremiah 10 tells us not to cut down a tree, bring it into our home and adorn it with silver and gold. Why won't the Church stand up and and expose this time for what it is?

  1. Michele's Avatar Michele

    I love to give gifts! Seeing the smile on loved ones faces when they open the "perfect" gift from you is so great. Paying for the order behind me in a drive thru, and seeing huge smiles slowly spread across surprised faces. My daughter believes in Santa Claus. I believe in Christmas magic. But first and foremost for us, Jesus is the reason for the season.

  1. Lauren Sherwood's Avatar Lauren Sherwood

    I have struggled for years with the excesses that we have made so much a part of the Christmas season. Of course I am all about the Heart of the season, religious or non, but unfortunately I have had a very hard time finding the heart amidst all the anxiety that surrounds "keeping up with the Jones" so to speak. I have found, now that my children are entering adulthood, that I have been stripping away to the bare essentials of the season, Love and appreciation of friends and family, generosity and service to others and keeping the day itself very humble and conscious of non excess!! With all that is happening in the world, and all "stuff" that we have and need to find ways to dispose of, I believe our money and our focus would be so much better spend supporting a clean up of the planet and/or serving the underserved rather than buying new and often too easily forgotten or disposed of gifts that none of us need. And, what a wonderful way to put the Christ in Christmas!! Happy New Year to all! Here's to more time and love and less Stuff!!!

    1. Rev. Jo-An Josephine's Avatar Rev. Jo-An Josephine

      I agree with your statement. Nicely done!!

  1. Pastor Jeff's Avatar Pastor Jeff

    As non-Christians we like to see the lit houses at night, eat cookies and sometimes even watch seasonable movies on TV. We hope our neighbors enjoy their holiday and most, in turn, understand that one of the blessings of a pluralistic society is that religious beliefs and ideas can differ -- and that it's entirely okay.

  1. robskyperson's Avatar robskyperson

    This Christmas our family found our father entering stage 4 of the 5 stages of alzhimers and our step mom being diagnosed on Dec.21 with pancreatic cancer. There were very few gifts given, just one each to the 4 youngest. The rest of the holiday season was spent enjoying the gathering of family and friends. As for Santa, my father was Santa for many years and I have taken over his duties, visiting the local Hospitals and Clinics (I go to see the people who work there more than the patients, though I do visit some children). May God in His or Her infinite wisdom bless and keep us all through out our lives, amen.

  1. Rev John's Avatar Rev John

    The greatest thing about Christmas is the fact that it is the celebration of the birth of Christ. If you take Christmas out of it it is only mas.JESUS was born the Savior, and we celebrate this on December 25th. How would we feel if someone was celebrating our birthday and paid absolutely no attention to us.

  1. William C Millhouse's Avatar William C Millhouse

    I am Pagan, however. I am very disturbed by the feeding frenzy of spending that the secular celebration of Christmas become.

  1. Pam Gauvin's Avatar Pam Gauvin

    Pastor Pam, I completely agree Christmas is too commercialized. I remember when my children were young we always had a birthday cake to celebrate the birth of Christ. Children need to know the true meaning of Christmas.

    1. Rev. Jo-An Josephine's Avatar Rev. Jo-An Josephine

      And unfortunately, the TRUE meaning of Christmas is NOT what we were all lead to believe. That is why we have so many religions and so many different views. Christianity itself is a mish mash of different cultures put together in a book written by MEN to control the masses. But that's ok, we are all entitled to our beliefs. I will never bash another for theirs but ask that others respect the many views out there. I truly hope you have a great and blessed 2016.

  1. Spiritual Healer Erma E Boyd's Avatar Spiritual Healer Erma E Boyd

    I always answer the question, "What do you want for christmas?" with the answer of "a hug, a kiss, a time with you!" Because to me that is what the season is about, time spent with family.

  1. William Murphy's Avatar William Murphy

    It is absolutely true that Christmas gets more and more commercialized every year,and so many people have sadly forgotten what the true meaning of the season is. For many people it is really only about getting things! People should actually be thankful for all that they have and try to focus on giving those in need some help they might desperately need like food or shelter which so many of takes for granted. Everyone please try to be kind, understanding,humble, and caring to all, for this is what god wants from all of us. This crazy world needs to stop all the hatred and bloodshed and begin to cherish each and every person and creature that was meant to grace our beautiful world! I truly wish that all will have a happy, healthy and safe year ahead and try to remember what things are important and be grateful for all that we may already have.

    1. cullyann's Avatar cullyann

      I agree with you 100%. The so called 'war on Christmas' doesn't really exist. The 'war' is against non-Christians who have the God given right to be whatever they wish to be. We need to celebrate diversity. Is your neighbor a Jewish person, an Athiest, an Agnostic, a Muslim? Why would you want to change them? God made them the way they are just like he made you as you are. Be kind and understanding with those people and they will do the same. And pretty soon, we will all be talking and understanding each other and the fear of the differences will be gone.

  1. Father Jim's Avatar Father Jim

    I agree with you. I couldn't have said it any better. May God Bless you.

  1. Minister James Owen's Avatar Minister James Owen

    Christmas is a time for giving, God gave us His Son, in return we should give ourselves unconditionally. He has given us the chance to submit our lives to him or not. It is everyone's decision to make. I believe in God and our savior Jesus Christ and the Holy Spirit with all my heart and soul. Christmas should always be celebrated for the right reason. It is a time to bring family and friends together to share each others lives and to help each other through the good times and bad times. But most of all put Christ first and every thing else will come together. I have friends who have family that are dealing with cancer this holiday season and they have asked me why should we put God or Jesus first if they let their family die from cancer. I always tell them to read the Bible and to Believe and to Pray without ceasing. We are all living in a body that wears out but our soul's will never die as long as we keep the Faith. It is hard to lose a loved one but remember if they are saved they will go to Heaven where there is no pain, and no sickness and no sorrow, and if you are a true Christian that has accepted Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior and that He died on the Cross for our sins and to be Baptised to make you clean again you will see those Loved ones when you pass on. I believe in giving at Christmas time and all through the year. But it has become a time of money spending and less giving from the heart. I think all religions that have a holiday or a day of celebrating Christmas should instill in each and everyone the reason for the season and to love one another as you Love Yourself. May God Bless each and everyone during this coming year.

  1. rogerpmyers's Avatar rogerpmyers

    God bless us all everyone.

  1. rabbi jim's Avatar rabbi jim

    rabi james shirav : I have always believed in Santa Claus, aka, St. Nickolas. I still do at age 62!!! But, I am not a follower of commercialism or material wealth. As a devout Jew, I focus on the spiritual and ecumenical aspects of faith. Let us all be like the wise magi and give to Yeshua of Nazareth the praise and glory he deserves. Save the gift giving for other human events.

  1. John Owens's Avatar John Owens

    That war was lost since the pagans decided they wanted to become Christians and stay pagans at the same time. Jesus said, "No man can serve two bosses," and, "If you love Me, keep My Commandments." He did NOT say, "I want you to honor me in the same way the heathens do." What kind of wussy God would do such a thing? A) The only thing remotely "Christian" about Christmas is the name of it. B) Trying to read the Bible INTO Christmas is an exercise in futility since not ONE of the customs associated with it come from Holy Scripture. C) It is, in fact, Anti-Christ in origin and practice. Good luck trying to milk it enough to draw happiness from it.

  1. Rajat Arora's Avatar Rajat Arora

    Blog is very important and share with person.

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