“What does christmas mean to you??” This question was posed to members of the general public by a very popular newspaper in a voxpop the other day. Some said Christmas meant a celebration of the birth of Christ; for quite a few it meant a time when family from all over get a moment to congregate and have a good time; others viewed it as a period of hibernation and unhealthy consumption of food; and my favorite of them all, was Christmas is a time when “the road gets did”. That last reason I’m hoping translates to a time of partying and going out with friends. This array of reasons for Christmas really begs the fundamental question: Are people misunderstood about the meaning of Christmas? And if this misunderstanding continues, will Christmas eventually have no meaning?
According to History, Christmas was a time sanctioned by the Roman Catholic denomination to celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ. There are arguments of course to dispute this, but this is the consensus among most who celebrate the holiday, so we’ll just use it as our premise for now. Essentially, Christmas is suppose to be a time when family comes together in humility and love to celebrate and reflect on the life and birth of Jesus Christ. But over the years, the capitalist-minded members of our society saw where Christmas could be priced and sold for profit, and took to commercializing the holiday. They introduced globally transferable symbols (Jolly old Santa Claus, Frosty the Snowman, Christmas tree) and stories of love, charity and family with the intention of encouraging the consumer to participate in the season with their incomes.
This has worked considerably well, saving the world economy multiple times one can imagine, but at the expense of what Christmas was originally intended to represent: Family. To this day, family remains as one of the key determinants to one having a good or bad Christmas holiday. Both Subjectively and Objectively, without that family structure it’s near impossible to participate in the season because there’s no reason to buy goods to cook a big meal, nor buy gifts to reward the children for making it on ‘Santa’s nice list’ this year nor buy extravagant decorations for your home that somehow certify that you are a participant of Christmas. It is for this reason why this generation of millennials (those born between 1980-2000) will be the last generation of ‘Christmas havers’ ; because we’re the last generation to appreciate and understand the element of family in this grand scheme of Christmas.
The generation following us is being dissuaded to consider children and let alone having a family. One popular point of reference to support this is the economy. The economy today, and what it will be 20 years from now is not conducive to supporting households with no more than 2 people. As each day goes by, due to scarcity of resources Education and Healthcare will get more expensive and less attainable for most, and trends in housing are suggesting that apartments are more feasible and easier to maintain than the suburban family homes. Suburbs to me are like the ‘nests’ where families are allowed to thrive. With the eventual eradication of these ‘nests’, we should expect to see a noticeable decrease in traditional family household structure.
Another point of reference is the changing family structures of our society. The more children that grow up in single parent households, or having to experience their parents’ divorce in the middle of their childhood is gradually going to cause a depreciation in the value of commitment and marriage, and by extension the traditional family structure when those same children become adults. They’ll also be more accustomed to independent living when they become adults due to growing up and seeing their parent do it all on their own, thereby being less inclined to settle early if they know they’ll have to depend on their partner for certain needs/wants.
My last point of reference is the media. If the media continues to emphasize the broken celebrity relationships/marriages and ignore the longstanding celebrity relationships/marriages, then the children growing up are going to develop this notion that committed relationships just don’t work in real life; and believe me Disney movies can only do so much and no more. If commercials continue “sexing up” their products to sell them then kids will develop this notion that everything is about sex, being sexy and having as much of it as possible (and not monogamously) . If the media continues to portray the cons to being married or committed to one person for the long term, then this idea of marriage ’til death do we part’ will either create more murderers or more resentment towards the notion of marriage; or maybe both.