Recently I was asked, why do we celebrate Christmas? And I gave the very basic answer – because it’s the birthday of Jesus!
“Very well!”, said the old uncle. And then went on to ask another pertinent question – “If it’s the birthday of Jesus, why is it that all the gifts & the new clothes are worn by everyone else?”
Why indeed? I began to ponder.
This is assuming that Jesus was born on the said date, without arguing about its historical accuracy. But irrespective of the date, Jesus was born and arguably lived the most storied and influential life ever. Now back to the question of what exactly Christmas has come to be and what it symbolizes. Who celebrates Christmas, and for whom does Christmas truly ring in joy & glad tidings?
Consider these statistics, if you will,
* 25% of all retail purchases happen in the month of December
– In the US alone, purchases topped $250 Billion last Christmas season
– Online purchases are expected to increase by 70% for the current Christmas season
– Christmas accounts for the highest single-day sales of Food & Beverages worldwide.
Whichever way you look at it, there is no denying that Christmas sure seems to be setting the cash registers ringing for retailers and marketers. There isn’t quite another holiday like Christmas, because there seems to be no celebration quite like Christmas.
From clothing, to decorations, from food to beverages, everything is disappearing off the shelves – whether people buy it online or in stores. We haven’t yet begun talking about all of the travelling that happens around the Christmas season, which by the way hasn’t quite been dimmed by the Corona Virus pandemic. Add all the holidays that people take around the world to commemorate the birth of Jesus, Christmas is almost a trillion-dollar holiday.
Contrast this against the poor ol’ Joseph & Mary having to birth the promised Messiah in a manger, and you could be forgiven for thinking that they had anything to do with Christmas after all. Over the millennia, surely Christmas is no longer about Christ, as much as it is today about the cash. While I will reserve my verdict on how much real Christian love is celebrated during the festival, there is no doubt that retailers & businesses surely love this big birthday bash! So it’s quite right, and albeit saddening to note, that Christmas is now more of a marketer’s paradise!!