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December 10th, 2008

Wednesday of the Second Week of Advent

Anne Rice on Christmas commercialism

 
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It seems to me in retrospect that the department stores and the dime stores did an excellent job of extending the “sacred space” of Christmas in those days. And I sometimes wonder whether for people of no religion, this might have been the only sacred space they knew. When people rail now against the “commercial nature of Christmas,” I’m always conflicted and unable to respond. Because I think those who would banish commercialism from the holiday fail to understand how precious and comforting the shop displays and music can be.

— from Anne Rice’s “Called Out of Darkness: a spiritual confession

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  • Christy

    I disagree. I think that taking the commercialism out of Christmas would take us all out of our comfort zones. Imagine seeing your daughter’s eyes light up at a re-enactment of the Christmas story, or finally grasping what Christmas is really about. Advent is a time to prepare our hearts for the coming of Christ’s light into the world. Buying a bunch of crap for people that they don’t need, nor necessarily even want, isn’t helping to bring that light in. It’s shoving it out.

    I think we’re kidding ourselves if we think that Jesus would come back and be like, ‘hey, what a great way to celebrate my coming back to earth!’

    The commercialism of Christmas is something that is brought about by our capitalistic society, not by our Christian ideals.

  • Dwane

    I love the Advent season. Too much commercialism takes away from Christ in Christmas, but I also do not want it to go away. Watching my 9 year old girl light up when she goes to the store is a highlight of my Christmas.

    We teach our kids the meaning of the holiday and the gift that God gave us, but we also teach them to give to others. We have 2 traditions at Christmas, the religious services as well as gift giving. Keeping both traditions brings true happiness to me and my family.

  • Jenny

    I agree. I do think that the commercialism can get out of hand, but I don’t think we should try to entirely suppress it. The tradition of gift-giving that even the secular, non-believing folks normally partake in is sort of a built-in Advent and Christmas. The waiting, hope, suspense of the time leading up to Christmas, giving gifts, and the climax of the shared time with family, opening gifts, feasting, and so forth can be sort of a covert manner of leading people into the spirit of Christmas in the way that it can help children to learn the greater meaning of Christmas.

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