Dear Barb – Finding Meaning in Christmas

Dear Barb;

I feel embarrassed to admit this, but I can’t wait for Christmas to be over. It just seems so phony to me. I really wish I didn’t feel this way. I’m not a religious person, so I can’t really find a reason to celebrate Christmas. Am I a real “scrooge” or are there others who feel like I do?

Jackie in Halifax

Thanks for writing Jackie. Unfortunately I think a lot of people feel the way you do and are confused about what Christmas really means to them.

A quick walk through any mall suggests that perhaps Christmas has become a commercial entity. People scurry everywhere in hopes of finding the perfect gift at any cost, often spending beyond their means, buying gifts that may end up in the back of someone’s closet.

I guess if you really want to understand the true meaning of Christmas you have to look at where it all started, which is the religious aspect. Christmas Day is a celebration of the birth of Jesus Christ, the Son of God. If you are a believer, the birth of Jesus is the only reason to celebrate Christmas. From this perspective Christmas is about attending Church and giving modest gifts to close friends and family, with the focus always remaining on the celebration of the birth of our Lord.

However many people in today’s society do not follow the traditional teachings of the Church. Spirituality for them is personal and may not include a celebration of the birth of Christ. For these people Christmas is still a joyous time, although it may include a different type of celebration. Perhaps they see Christmas as a time to reconnect with family members and friends they may not have seen for a while. As well, it may be a time for newly formed families to begin their own traditions.

For others Christmas is for helping the less fortunate in our society. They may spend time visiting people confined to hospitals, or those who are alone and unable to leave their homes due to age or sickness. The generosity of these individuals is a very vital part of our society, not only at Christmas, but also throughout the year.

Simply choosing to ignore Christmas is not a possibility as the celebrations are too vast. Stores are closed on Christmas Day, people don’t work, and television shows and movies all reflect the sentiment of the day. Obviously Jackie you have not found what Christmas means to you. Spend some time thinking about what you want Christmas to represent to you. Don’t allow yourself to be swept up into someone else’s view of Christmas. Explore various interpretations and find one that fits for you, even better create your own.

Merry Christmas, Jackie. I hope you have a great day, no matter how you choose to spend it.

E-mail your questions to Some submissions may be edited for length or to protect confidentiality: your real name and location will never be printed. This column is for entertainment only. The author is not a professional counsellor and this column is not intended to take the place of professional advice.