Everyone has Christmas traditions; whether it’s fancy dinners, drinks or presents; they’re institutions in your life. However, the main tradition in almost all households at Christmas is the exchanging of gifts, which raises the great debate – has Christmas become too commercialized?
Navan-born comedian Tommy Tiernan once said that ‘Christmas was always commercial. The baby Jesus was only born when the three wise men burst into the stable saying I got you this!’. For once, it is easy to agree with the controversial comic.
Christmas always was about sharing gifts with loved ones. My 68 year old grandmother tells the same story every year for the month of December, “I got a doll and an orange one year from Santa, and I was the envy of all the girls in my class.”
The tradition of giving gifts has always been there, but more apt to the financial times we lived in, and the traditions of society. As the world moved in to the 21st century, phones, computers and all things electronic became luxuries and were gifted to loved ones.
It doesn’t seem that Christmas has become too commercialized; rather, that society has changed.
Lisa Jordan, a second year nursing student agrees: “it’s the younger generation and how they have been influenced by both the media and the social media.” However, she also believes that Christmas is what you make of it, and what traditions you hold. Her favorite Christmas tradition is the gathering in her neighbours house on Christmas Eve every year.
Will Slattery, a third year journalism student, believes that the focus has shifted at Christmas, and that it’s less about religion and more about presents. “Religion isn’t as important as it used to be, so now gift-giving to friends and family is more important than going to mass.”
Traditions such as spending time with family, friends, food and decorations are as strong as ever. Conor O’Regan, a final year actuarial mathematics student said that he is “looking forward to spending time with family and friends.”
Personally, this Christmas will be bittersweet, but special in my house. As my grandmother enters the last few months of her life, and plans her last Christmas, we have arranged for my aunt and her family to fly home from America for the first time in seven years, and spend Christmas in Tullow. This will give my nanny the best present ever; her family all around her.
To me, that’s what Christmas is all about.
Emma Jane Hade
Image Credit: Aaron Jacobs