Christmas: Is it about Kris Kringle or the Christ child?

By Katie Norman
I. J. Samson Junior High
St. John's, Newfoundland

Christmas. It's a regular Saturday afternoon. You're at the mall. That Turbo charger thing your son wants for Christmas is sold out. After a million phone calls, you finally find one at another mall. That mall is half way across town.

By the time you get home, there are Christmas lights to be hung, a fruit cake to be baked and tonight is your daughter's Christmas concert. Does this sound familiar to you? For many people, Christmas is becoming so hectic that they often wish to avoid it.

 When Christmas comes to mind, I think of the tree, hanging lights, spending time with my family, and, of course, the gifts. For a brief moment, I almost forget entirely about the reason we celebrate Christmas: Christ. Sure, Santa's part of the season, but so is the religious aspect.

You always see Santa at the mall but when was the last time you saw a manger or any religious memorabilia displayed in a public place? I would bet that many children don't even know the story of the birth of Christ.

Sure, a lot of people attend church on Christmas -- but not as many as there used to be. I've heard stories about how full the church used to be 50 years ago. People would come from all over. Carols would be sung far into the night. The sermon would be taken to heart.

Later, everyone would hurry home to a cooked dinner and a full stocking. Inside the stocking there would be an apple, orange, some loose candy, maybe a china doll or a bouncing ball. Then there would be a gift from mom and dad -- probably a new dress or set of trousers. A far cry from what we receive today.

Today's Christmas begins a month before hand. As soon as the first snow falls, out comes the Santa hats and strings of lights. Carollers are on every corner and everyone heads to the malls to spend the money. Most children get a stocking full of knick-knacks - hair clips, toy cars, coloured lead pencils and video games. Then, there is a set of gifts piled high under the tree. Each child receives so many presents that they don't know what to do with them.

So this leaves me with a final question. Since the holiday season has changed so much in the past 50 years, what will future generations do to top our Christmas? Will school close for the month? Will shopping become the main sport of the season?

The only problem I can find in this is - what about the reason for the season: Christ? Will that aspect of Christmas be lost forever?


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