"Peace On Earth, Good Will Toward Man"
The airwaves are lit ablaze with obnoxiously sacrilegious garbage about the purchases that we will make in this "season of giving", intermittently punctuated with a jingle giving nod to a fat sweat shop CEO generously rewarding the behavior of conformist youth with lavish gifts produced by exploited "elves". It doesn't get any better.
Overriding the fact that Mr. Clause has a propensity to exacerbate climate change in requiring the production of massive amounts of coal (ok, I'll stop), he nonetheless rewards the capitalist tendencies in the consumerist model of what has become the holiday. We are programmed from the beginning of our lives to understand this as the day that we will receive, and give, "presents" to everyone in our immediate circle. This inevitably leads to poorer families vindicating themselves to their children, co-workers, brothers, aunts, etc, as to the economic conditions that led to their lack of "giving", regardless of the fact that their exploited labor afforded the generosity of those able to comply with tradition. This tendency is counterproductive to the nominal goal of the holiday, as the original message of the birth of the Christian Messiah enshrined in the gospels was "peace on earth", and "good will toward man". Neither of those ideas are driven during the holidays, as infighting and the exact opposite of "good will" is rendered, triggering the mass migration away from the holiday's embrace. Perhaps someone should explain to Bill O'Reilly that the "war on Christmas" is not the dark hatching conspiracy of otherworldly bogeymen, but rather the naturally occurring consequences of injecting consumerism into a beloved tradition.
Directly following the tumultuous "festivus" (as adequately described by one "Seinfeld" episode), the gift wrapper is packed into the subsequent packaging, and mounded atop the garbage can. Massive waste follows fetishized consumption as the cheaper toys break, uneaten edibles disposed, parts lost, and the spirit fades, leaving parents, and heads of households everywhere thousands of dollars, if not more, in debt. Indebted to the system designed to exploit even further your desire to be "festive".
I do not wish, however, to paint this otherwise joyful time with such a dark brush. If the effects of unfettered capitalism on the holiday are to be mentioned, it should be during the holiday. I do wish to point out that if you are in the boat that I am in this Christmas, than perhaps revive an old family tradition, even if you are alone. Watch old Christmas cartoons, sip on eggnog (intended to be stirred with a candy-cane), listen to Christmas music, or just stare into the Christmas tree and reflect. Have a Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays, and a wonderful coming New Year!