President Barack Obama, First Lady Michelle Obama, daughters Sasha and Malia, and Marian Robinson participate in the National Christmas Tree lighting on the Ellipse in Washington, D.C., Dec. 4, 2014. (Official White House Photo by Lawrence Jackson)

An homage to Christmas

POSTED December 5, 2018

   Ah, December in South Dakota. There’s nothing more refreshing than snow that one struggles to shovel off of driveways, icy roads that beg one’s car tires to go haywire and crash into others and the blistering cold that makes even the most unathletic of us sprint when we are outside to get indoors and prevent spending another second in frozen agony.

    But on Christmas…

    Well, I like Christmas.

    Sure I’m having a minor mental breakdown over the school district slowly reducing our winter break, but December 25 is a day that I’ll mark on my calendar with glee and excitement.

    Is it the marvelous and eccentric lights that beckon us to release the true enjoyment for the holiday that we have in our hearts and souls? Is it the cheerful and (usually) romantic melodies and harmonies we hear in our earbuds and on our radios that give us this unprecedented feeling to sing along with Mariah Carey and Michael Bublé? Or is it the thought of the presents under the ornamental Christmas tree and the nostalgic memory of waiting until one’s parents go to sleep on Christmas Eve to shake his/her presents and try to guess what he/she got?

    We live in an unfortunate time of hate and war. We’re divided as a nation politically, and none of us seem to trust each other whether it’s on the news, our DMs or even face to face. I have family in Ukraine, a country that’s being invaded by the largest country in the world. There are drug wars that are killing tens of thousands of people in the Philippines, Israeli-Palestinian conflicts that induce innocent families to become refugees and territorial disputes in the South China Sea; North Korean citizens aren’t even allowed to leave their own country due to an insecure and homophobic dork who killed his uncle to increase his political status.

    Christmas isn’t by any means a solution to this; that’s not the point I’m trying to make. This holiday is so out of place that it simply doesn’t fit the human propensity towards cruelty. It causes us to spend one day out of the year cherishing our family members instead of neglecting them, wishing the best to our friends and enemies and spending our hard earned minimum-wage paychecks on the siblings we’re normally despised by and annoyed with; yet they are happy with the gifts we got them, and they’re just as happy to see us delighted with the gifts they bought for us.

    Where the heck is all this positivity and genuine kindness coming from?

    Why do we only allow ourselves one day out of the year to love one another and show respect and appreciation to our friends and family?

    Is Christmas just a day out of the year where we take down our emotional barriers and indulge in each other’s company? Or is it just a holiday where we pretend not to hate each other and only stick around the Christmas tree for our gifts and nothing else?

    Have we dove down so deep in disregard for each other that we excuse all the festive movies, songs, decorations and stories just to satisfy our greedy materialistic urges with gifts?

    Alright, I have more than surpassed the rhetorical question limit for this article.

    Christmas is just a holiday that we’ve taken advantage of in such a twisted way that we only glimpse at the day as a chance to get a new console, video game or phone. To pay my respects to every cliche conflict in holiday movies, “We’ve forgotten the true meaning of Christmas.”

    We can’t just allow ourselves to use a precious and sacred holiday for sacred gain. We need to spend this holiday spending time with our loved ones, donating to charities and being kind to each other.

    But we’ll end up doing the opposite.

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