Christmas Commercialism Anxiety



This time of year, I have a hard time not feeling the stress of the season. I may seem like a Scrooge, but the store papers, commercials, and emails are constantly screaming, “Buy more stuff!”

There is already too much stuff in our house, let alone the aftermath of Christmas. I dread coming home from family members’ houses with bags and bags of “junk.” I know they mean well and want to show their love for us, but most years, I wish presents weren’t part of it. We don’t really need anything and are very blessed. I feel like presents get in the way of the true meaning of Christmas. Jesus only received three gifts, yet we receive many.

The “give me” attitude is at its prime during the month of December. I often feel the opposite, cringing at the questioning minds of what I want for Christmas and fearing getting gifts I don’t want. I try to remind myself where they are coming from and the heartfelt person behind the gifts.

Regardless of meditating on those facts, I feel like a horrible, ungrateful person.

Growing up, there was the magic of Santa Claus and what would be under the tree in the morning. We didn’t go to church on Christmas and I do not even know if I really understood its true meaning. I never was given a good explanation of why it was such an important holiday.

I did not grow up Catholic, so I have a really hard time understanding what our son does comprehend. He is very focused on getting presents, like a lot of kids, but I don’t want material things to be the main feature.

I am very open about why I don’t like Christmas, but maybe I should focus more on why I like Christmas. Maybe positive reinforcement would steer his mind away from the present aspect of Christmas. How do you handle any material attitudes in your families?

Copyright 2014  Tanya Weitzel


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  1. Hey Tanya,
    My children are grown, so I would like to share with you a looking back view! You are so right about the commercial distractions of Christmas. I encourage you to spend some time visualizing what you want your children(when they are grown)to remember most about Christmas. You can’t develop this all at once, so don’t panic! Relax, it takes years to build traditions. Favorite foods, Christmas music, a birthday cake for Jesus, the Christmas story, attending the Holy Mass as a family,teaching moderation in gift giving, sponsoring a family in need, etc. Our family has tried different things over the years. Some things stuck and became part of our yearly traditions and some things didn’t. And a few things have always been non-negotiable, like attending the Holy Mass. Parents have the privilege and responsibility of steering and teaching the true meaning of celebrations. What I am finding out as my grown children return home is they want to experience the love,togetherness,favorite foods, prayers and music of Christmas. Commercialism claims only a small role compared to all the rest a family shares at Christmas!

    • Celeste,

      Thanks so much for the encouragement. I really appreciate it! Your words are very supportive. I hope you are having a blessed new year!

  2. Christy Purnell on

    Hi, Tanya–
    Just a quick note. For future Advent seasons, you can sign up at the website for Holy Heroes for their “Advent Adventure.” A wonderful Catholic family (who is also behind the “Glory Story” CDs) presents daily lessons on Advent traditions, Scripture, making of Jesse Tree ornaments, etc. My children really enjoy it.

    • Christy,

      Thanks for the tip. We do enjoy the Advent and Lent Adventures as well. We have been following Holy Heroes for years. Thanks for sharing!

  3. Cassie Guenther on

    I have 4 young children and during advent we spend time cleaning out the toy room. We organize and decide which toys we can take to a local shelter. Many times we end up donating something the kids brought home from a Christmas celebration the year before. I have learned that the kids actually enjoy doing this….it is not hard for them to give away toys if they know it is going to a little boy or girl who would otherwise receive nothing or very little. It has taken a few years to develop the right attitude in giving…the first year I remember one of my sons saying “This would be a good one to donate, it is missing some pieces.” Ha! Not what we were going for. But just yesterday, that same son, 2 years later, said as we were getting the last of the donations ready, “I really like this baseball stuff but another boy would have fun playing with it too,” and joyfully tossed it in the box. We make time together as a family to take the donations in and do something fun afterwards like the children’s museum or ice cream; and often reminisce about the toys we gave away and the joy they will bring to someone special on Christmas morning.

  4. Cassie,

    Thank you for sharing. I hope my son will get to the point of being a joyful giver. He only seems to be joyful if he is opening something new at the same time. God Bless!

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