The Christmas Trap

What does Christmas mean to you? As I walk the malls, I see people carrying lists, packages, boxes, and crying children. Why are the children crying? Aren’t they supposed to be happy? Their parents have tired and not so happy faces. They have spent their hard-earned money on presents that Santa is supposed to bring. There is no Santa. They are Santa.

When did Christmas become a time for store sales, lots of candy, more food, and bankruptcy? Christmas is a time when people commit suicide, steal packages, and murder their families. They become depressed. The bills arrive in the mail. The creditors are after them because they can’t pay the bills. They begin to drink or take drugs. They see no way out but to eliminate their entire family. Drive them off the edge of the cliff into the ocean, kill them while they are sleeping, or set the house on fire when everyone is inside.

These are not the memories we want to have when Christmas comes along. I purpose that we change. Buy one gift for each of your children and spouse. Prepare dinner and invite your friends to share with you. Sing Christmas carols. Bring the birth of Christ back into Christmas. If it wasn’t for Christ, we would not have Christmas.

Instead of giving your children everything they want on one day, give them gifts during the year. You don’t have to be a rich Santa. Be a caring Santa. Give your children hugs and kisses instead of wrapped presents. Let them know you love them. Tell them the story of a true Christmas. The real meaning of Christmas is very important. If you don’t believe in Christ don’t celebrate Christmas.

In Japan Christmas is celebrated by children. Santa brings one gift to them on Christmas Eve. Japanese toy companies saw the opportunity to make more money. The toy stores began to convince the Japanese parents that children wanted toys from Santa. The Japanese took the idea and expanded.  Men representing Santa in Japan are very skinny and not as jolly as some of the American ones. Japanese stores and outside parks are decorated in colorful lights that radiate the feeling of Christmas. Christmas decorations include fake Christmas trees, posters of Santa in his sleigh, and Christmas music.

Japanese Christmas tradition includes some very interesting ideas. The father goes to Kentucky Fried chicken and buys a bucket of chicken and then goes to the bakery to get the Christmas cake. I am not sure where these ideas come from. Japanese are good at inventing their own traditions. The Japanese father comes home from work around 9:00 and everyone eats fried chicken. Yes, I mean everyone. The Colonial is happy with this. He goes to the bank laughing every Christmas. The Christmas cake comes in all sizes and always includes whipped cream, chocolate icing, and some kind of Santa decoration.

Not all families buy their Christmas cakes. Many of the women make their cakes at home. I lived in Japan for five years and made the Christmas cake every year. We didn’t have enough money to buy the cake. I must admit that my Christmas cakes did not look like the ones professionally baked.

Following the tradition of giving one gift to a child on Christmas, my husband and I gave one gift to our daughter. She was very happy. We moved to the USA when she was three years old. We continued the Japanese tradition of Santa bringing only one gift. It didn’t hit her until she was in the second grade. The children at school were going down their lists of the gifts they received from Santa.

Lisa, our daughter, came home from school crying. “Why did I only get one gift when my best friend got ten?” She stopped crying and I explained to her that Santa would only bring her one gift and it was a very special gift.

We traveled for Christmas. It was the only time my husband spent time with us. He didn’t have to worry about work and he could be with his family. The talk lasted about one hour, and she finally decided that traveling was more fun than receiving more gifts. I think!

Christmas should be a time that we share with our friends and families. Don’t pile gifts on your friends and family. Give a gift of time. Time is power. Time is gold. Time is important. You are not going to be on this earth for the rest of your life.

Forget the material things. Think of what you can give to your children and spouse or significant other in time. Don’t make the companies richer and you poorer by making such a big investment at Christmas. Don’t make yourself depressed. Make yourself happy.

Go for a walk with your family. Eat pizza. Make a quick dinner, read a book, watch a movie. Don’t fall into the Christmas trap!

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