The winter holidays were originally a celebration of the end of the harvest, the beginning of winter and a time for families to reunite, share a meal and appreciate those friends and family that add value to life.  These are certainly admirable reasons to celebrate however over the years “Christmas” has taken on a much different purpose for many.  Has it been adapted to better accommodate the needs of the majority of people, or has it morphed into a profit vehicle for the wealthy? 

Capitalism is the obvious reason for the commercialization of the season, providing the perfect opportunity for businesses to make money.  We’ve seen the start of the holiday season come seemingly earlier and earlier every year so that merchants have ample opportunities to sell their goods.  All of this is fine with me, however I get a little irritated seeing Christmas items in the stores around Halloween. 

Somewhere along the way Christians adopted this time of year to worship their savior.  Whatever Christians want to do in the name of their religion is fine with me, for the most part, I don’t care.  One thing that I do have a problem with is the apparent righteousness Christians have with respect to everyone else.  They firmly believe that their religion is the only ‘correct’ religion and all others will somehow be punished in an afterlife.  That last statement is the reason I no longer believe in  any religion, it is utterly ridiculous.  

Also, for whatever reason, Christianity seems to go hand-in-hand with conservatism and Republicans.  This separation of church and state is another forbidden line that Christians love to cross.  I’ve certainly seen Christians using their religion to promote the Republican agenda.  I understand that I may be stereotyping a little, but I think it is just a little.  I know it’s difficult for the religious-right to separate their religion from their politics, but since there are a lot of differing beliefs, this is a must. 

To me, Christmas has evolved from a time to appreciate family and life to a somewhat greedy, commercialized holiday designed to play on the beliefs of Christians and offer Republicans another opportunity to push their conservative agenda.  Remember, this is how I feel.  I’m by no means claiming that everyone sees this as I do.  I am very tired of hearing conservatives moan about people saying ‘happy holidays’, excluding their precious term, Christmas.  Just remember, axial tilt is the reason for the season, not Jesus. 

Everyone must remember that there are a lot of religions in this world that are not centered around Christianity and just the word “Christmas” seems to exclude many other faiths.  Just because you might be a Christian, doesn’t make what you believe to be correct in the minds of many. 

Our society would greatly benefit by returning to the core ideals of this celebration.  If you like to give gifts to those you appreciate, then so be it.  However if you’d prefer to show your appreciation differently, then you shouldn’t feel obligated to buy gifts.  Likewise, people shouldn’t expect gifts.  This, to me is just another form of greedy conservatism.  Believe me, having good people in your life is of much more value and is more important than anything one can buy. 

In our celebrations this week, let’s make sure we appreciate those people in our lives as well as the closing of another year and the beginning of a new year where we can work to better ourselves.  Let’s not exclude those of other faiths or whom have no faith in a religion.  We’re all humans and we all live on the same planet.  Let’s appreciate the differences of those who are different than us.  We will always be stronger, together. 

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