I am not a fan of obligatory gift-giving either. Nor capitalism, when it comes down to it. But the thought of robbing children of the wonder and excitement of Christmas that I felt as a child fills me with sadness. We only get the one shot at being a kid. Sure, we won't know what we're missing if our parents were jaded. But I feel like I've managed to carry the spirit of the holiday that I felt when I was young through to adulthood, and I don't know who I'd be otherwise, so I'm probably going to stick with the tradition and try, like my parents did, to instill an understanding of the illusion of commercialism into my kids when they're old enough, and encourage them to seek out their own spiritual truths as they get older. I have to have enough faith in them to figure things out for themselves in the context of whatever messed-up world they inherit. And I get the added bonus of that delightful joyous smile when they rip that paper off the boxes on Christmas morning. Year-round instant gratification is a much more worthy target than Christmas, I think. But I can't afford to constantly shell out cash for NFL jerseys, so maybe it's a case of two different worlds.
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