Another name for this time of year is “The Season of Giving.” Makes alot of sense, actually, as there are three holidays during this time that include a traditional giving of gifts(Christmas, Yule, and Hanukkah). However, go out shopping for gifts, and you find yourself dealing with a very dangerous environment.
Here I am writing this the week after Black Friday, a day of sales, deals, thefts, and injuries caused by fellow shoppers. At least there were no fatally injured shop employees. The phenomena is just so at odds at what one should be doing. How is trampling a store employee to get a bargain, or shoving people to get at item on the shelf exemplifying the spirit of giving?
Just as bad about this is how impersonal gifts have gotten. I know that I do arts and crafts, and I have given people hand made gifts in the past. At the same time, for me, picking a gift for a family member or friend is something heavily considered. I shop all year round. However, at this time of year, people think getting any old item is sufficient.
Yet, the whole tradition of gift giving is of Pagan origin. I was always taught that it was to celebrate the surviving the worst part of winter, as now the days will start getting longer after the Solstice. It also served a practical purpose of sharing of your excess with your community so they can have more. It is a symbol of prosperity, and yet, people will put themselves into horrible debt this time of year to seem more prosperous.
Why do so many people just, well, seem to miss the point of the whole “Season of Giving” anymore? Maybe people should take a moment, and remember what it feels like to give the perfectly chosen gift for someone, and take the time to not worry about sales, but about what will bring joy to their family and friends. To me, at least, the best gift I get every year is presence of family, their smiling faces as they open the gifts I carefully picked for each of them.