The commercialization of Christmas and the holiday (etymologically associated as holiday derives from Holy Day) associated with gift giving has diluted “real” message of Christmas. This has been discussed and debated over and over and I’m not going to attempt to add anything new to that particular discussion. However, for my family, for the last two years have been trying something new. Which we hope is a way to further the disconnect between the two, i.e., the commercial/gift exchange and celebration and remembrance of the Nativity of Jesus.

The figure of Santa Claus derives from Saint Nicholas of Myra and based on this we’ve made a slight change. The feast day for St. Nicholas is December 6 ... which is quite close to the Christmas break. Thus we’ve made the decision that for our family we now have been (and will) exchange gifts on December 6 (technically after evening Vespers on the 5th), not on December 25. Thus on the 24th and 25th the “special” things we do is that we attend the Nativity services (and end the Nativity fast). Thus the anticipation of “stuff” that kids (of any age?) associate with the gift exchange has been (and is) disconnected with the Nativity which is then rightly and more easily focused on Christ and the Church.

So to bastardize Kant’s Metaphysics of Morals, if we universalized that practice ... do you think that would that help? Is this a good way to disassociate the commercial and worldly aspects of the Nativity from the Sacred? Is/was this move a good idea? I welcome thoughts and opinions on this little switch.

Articles by Mark Olson

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