What is Christmas Really About?

We’re well into December – Christmas is almost here. And so the Christmas songs play, the decorations are up, the Christmas cheer ensues. I quite enjoy this time of year.

But what is Christmas really about? I’m not religious, so it’s mostly about nostalgia for me. For others, it is about celebrating the birth of Jesus Christ. For most – religious or not – it appears to be about consumerism.

You may fall victim to the myth that Christmas is about giving. It’s not. It’s about consuming and breaking healthy habits.

Consuming Goods

Any corporation with half-decent marketing has been able to associate their product, or even their brand, with Christmastime (and other holidays). I must admit, I love the Bath and Body Works Christmas candles (‘Tis the Season and Fresh Balsam were burning in my apartment this time last year). We’ve all got those seasonal favorites, whether they be scents (candles), tastes (special chocolates, turkey dinner), or sights (decorations). And that’s okay. But it’s important to be aware. Be aware that those companies are cashing in off of what is supposed to be a religious celebration, a time for family, friends, and giving. They invented Santa and all that comes with the jolly old fellow. Those companies have turned an innocent holiday into a consumerist madhouse.

The idea of giving is a wonderful idea. Most of what this holiday has become is bred from good intentions (except for the corporations – make no mistake, for them it’s about nothing more than money). But it has gotten many of us needlessly consuming. If you are going to purchase something, do so because you need it, because it will add value to your life or the life of someone else. You may even choose to opt for an alternative to gift-giving, like this one less gift certificate from Miss Minimalist.

Be a mindful consumer.

Breaking Healthy Habits

For many people, staying healthy is a top priority. They go to the gym several times a week and are careful about what they eat. But in December… it all goes out the window. And it’s socially acceptable, so they do it. The chocolate comes out, the big feasts begin, people are so busy they can’t make it to the gym anymore. People begin to stress about buying gifts, hosting family, attending social functions. This makes December an unhealthy month alone. Add to that all the extra food that, in normal quantities, might not be so bad, but in Christmastime quantities, is just horrible. Then there’s the chocolate and alcohol. Somehow it’s become acceptable to consume ridiculous amounts of junk food and alcohol during the holiday season. It shouldn’t be any surprise that tons of people feel like shit this month, and if they don’t, their bodies are doing a good job of hiding their dislike. The problem is that we become a mob with the mob mentality. We follow the herd. “Everyone else is eating horribly, so I can do it. And then I can resolve to be better next year”. Who really follows through with their new year’s resolution anyway? Health comes with lifestyle. It’s not a goal to sometimes meet and sometimes not. Don’t compromise your lifestyle for one month of socially acceptable gluttony.

 

Enjoy the special time of year. Enjoy time with family and friends, the benefits you get at work (days off, extra money, etc), even some special Christmas favorites… But please, consider keeping your wallet and body healthy by embracing more meaningful things than unnecessary consumption and bad habits.

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