Dear Barb—The Lights of Christmas

Dear Barb:

Hi, I am a young mother in her thirties with two young children.  This Christmas I noticed only a handful of houses with Christmas lights and decorations. When I was a kid almost every house on my street had lights at Christmas time. I feel bad for my kids that they don’t get to see the glorious sites that I did. I don’t know if this is a sign of the times, in terms of Canada now being a diverse country, with many cultures, or if people are just so downtrodden because of the state of the world. My children have not known anything different, so they don’t seem to notice. What is your opinion, the state of the world, or the result of cultural differences?
Thanks, Robin.

Hi Robin:

I do not think the answer to that question is either/or, rather it’s a combination.  According to Abacas Data, a research team, who interviewed 1500 Canadians, 41% state they will celebrate Christmas as a religious holiday while 50% will celebrate it as a secular holiday and 9% are not sure. Many Canadians participate in Christmas celebrations for non-denominational fun and festivities, rather than for the religious dimension. One in ten consider Christmas to be primarily a religious celebration.

The reasons you are seeing fewer lights and decoration could be a result of many things. For example, the minimalist movement is still thriving, and people are downsizing their Christmas celebrations. Part of this could be for financial reasons, which would fall into your question about the state of the world at present. For many, Christmas is an anxiety-producing time as they do not have the money to buy extravagant presents for their children, or if they do, they will be paying for them long after Christmas. Also, the Christmas season brings to light loneliness and family conflicts, which can be suppressed at other times of the year.

For others, it is just too much work to drag out all the decorations and lights from storage for such a brief time since they may already be tired and overworked. Also, many organizations create professional displays for people to visit. Often at these displays families can have a hot drink and join in games. The thinking is why do all the work of decorating your house when only your neighbors will see it? Families enjoy these events and may create new traditions. I do not know if this answered your question. Happy New Year Robin

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