Monday, November 28, 2005

To shop or not to shop...

That is the question for a lot of you - and where - and do you avoid certain shops? I was reading an interesting thread on a posting board and one of the posters had this to say:


Where can I shop for my children without compromising my values? Target = no Salvation Army (but if I ever decide I want an upside-down tree, that's the first place I'll go!!); KMart, Sears, Kohls, & Walmart = No "Christmas" in their advertising or in-store displays.


And American Girl? I have a soon-to-be 3-year old dd named Elizabeth (named from P&P, of course) with beautiful blue eyes and blond curly hair. I had planned on getting her the Elizabeth doll for Christmas. They could be twins!! But now AG has connected itself with Girls Inc. and I'm not comfortable with that. My 6-year old dd (named Emma, of course) has Marisol and I'd love to get her the rest of the doll's clothes before they become unavailable, but...see above.


Is there ANY retailer at which I can shop whose CEOs (or whoever) have not bent so far over backwards to be p.c. that they've ridiculously contorted themselves into a very offensive position to Christians?


Or should I just shop wherever, shut my mouth, and stop being so political?


We do shop, and we shop all over. I mostly shop online because it is easy and brainless and I can do it late at night when all curious eyes are closed. That said, I did purchase from Walmart, K-Mart as well as Target for this Christmas. Did anyone wish me a Merry Christmas or Happy Holidays? Probably not because I did all my shopping before Thanksgiving. However, would that have mattered to me at all? I think I understand the underlying frustration of this person - that Christmas isn't Toymas, or Holidaymas, or Giftmas, but Christmas. But understanding and empathizing are two different things.


The discussion turned into a very heated discussion about the origins of the Christmas, be they pagan or not, or partially pagan, or even religious at all for some. Some people went so far as to say, "Christmas IS about Christ no matter how much others want to deny it....."  Each family that I know treats Christmas in their own particular way. I am glad that no one tells me I have to do ABC in order to have a true Christmas otherwise I would be sure to disappoint someone!


I cannot say that I think that Christmas is 100% about Christ's birth for our family. Yes, we read an advent story, and of course read the book of Luke, but we also read some of our favorite Christmas stories. Many of them have a Christian theme, and I love that. I love that we can have the story of the importance of Christ's birth woven into a treasured Christmas book. We also watch Polar Express, It's a Wonderful Life, and Elf with our family. We enjoy Christmas stories like the Night Before Christmas too. We enjoy the cultural aspects of Christmas without compromising ourselves. We do not tell our children that Santa is truly coming down our non-existant chimney and we do not tell them that he is a real person in the flesh, but we allow them to be children and to enjoy the story of Santa for what it is - a story.


There is a fine balance to what Christmas is. I cannot say that Christmas is 100% about Christ's birth to us because that would be a lie. We do not open presents on the morning of the 25th because Jesus was born. But on the other hand, would I be celebrating anything at all on the 25th if the Christian church so many years ago did not decide to make it an official holiday? Probably not! Would we buy gifts and fill stockings if we did not have the commercial culture we have today? Probably not! So, it really is a mix of tradition and faith all wrapped up in one.


We have friends that do not celebrate Christmas at all - they are morally opposed to it. Now can I - or even should I - argue with them about it? No, because each family needs to make those choices for themselves. I do feel badly though because I think they miss so much. Even though this time of year can be stressful, it can also be a lovely time - with precious memories that live in their hearts forever. That is what Christmas is to us - Jesus, memories, family, and love.


Whatever it is to you and yours - whether you shop or not, go to certain stores or not, celebrate the birth of Christ or just enjoy the gifts, may the season that is upon us be a blessed one to you!



Thank you for the Christmas Blessings.

Merry CHRITSmas to you and your family.

We have enjoyed all the advent stories by that author. They were very exciting and a blessign to us.


Anonymous said...

Oops! Forgot to say that was me.


hsmomof2 said...

While I do occasionally have twinges of guilt over shopping at places like Target, I do have to realize we live in a secular culture! Enjoyed your post, very much.

sparrow said...

I don't think we can operate in our society completely uncompromised (although I don't think it's wrong to try ;) ). We do our best, follow the convictions God lays on our hearts, and enjoy freely the things God has given us. I think I'd go crazy trying to do or be anything else.

Merry Christmas, Kate!

CAgirlwithasoutherndrawl said...

I just don't really think of Christmas as the celebration of Christ's birth. That doesn't mean that I don't enjoy the season, I do. In my mind, however, it has become more like valentine's day. A really cool period of time during which I can decorate with trees and lights and sing jingle bells. I think when it becomes a rub that creates a wound on my heart, is when I actually take the time to meditate on the fact that this is billed as a celebration of the birthday of The Saviour of the World. I won't restate what I posted on my blog, but that aspect does really get to me. So, while I can enjoy Christmas, as a season, the trimmings of that season, to me, have nothing to do with Christ.


thewestiecrew said...

I guess the way that I see it, is that I can make it as much about Jesus as I am willing to go. To me the origins are pointless since it is all about how *I* work toward giving Him glory in everything that I do, whether that be doing the laundry or celebrating Christmas. Some of it is certainly cultural and we can't escape that, but we can turn those cultural things around for His glory in our hearts and in our *worship* (for lack of a better word here). Example: Christmas trees are not biblical, but I can decorate that tree with things that are meaningful and reflective of the God's greatest gift to us. Does that make any sense?


Gayle~who wishes *so much* that I had just kept my mouth shut last night with my responses. :(

UndertheSky said...

I agree completely. It is what we make it - some of us make it more rather than less about Christ and others do not. I think we should, as Christians, do all for the glory of God - including laundry. :)

I didn't think you were inappropriate at all on the board. It can be a very hostile place. Having been there for over five years I know how it can get! You were just being honest with your feelings - no harm at all.



JenIG said...

this is a great post.

i miss you!

love jen

Anonymous said...

Thanks for this very balanced post on celebrating Christmas! Well-written! You and I come from the same perspective.

We too allow the cultural aspects of Christmas while keeping our focus on Advent. Advent represents what I truly love about Christmas and we get to do it for 24+ days, so it extends the celebration and enjoyment. I love Christmas music, so singing Christmas hymns and carols with my children every single day is something I enjoy (and helps with my rusty guitar playing). LOL!

We don't ban Santa or Santa stories, either. We just make Advent the focal point. They get a stocking from "Santa" on Christmas mornings. And I don't freak out if someone asks them what Santa is bringing them for Christmas, even though the actual gifts are from their relatives.

And I switched to shopping online about two years ago (except for last-minute stocking stuffers).