A Modern Christmas – What Does It Mean?


You know how it goes at Christmas. Christmas light switch ons, Father Christmas outfits, Christmas fairs, Christmas Trees, Presents, the Coca Cola advert and the John Lewis advert. People enjoy Christmas from all walks of life: any age, any culture, and perhaps, it would seem, any kind of religion. Christmas, as we all know, is a Christian holiday, but many non-Christians celebrate this, what some would call, consumer holiday.

Even those who are not particularly religious will celebrate Christmas. I do not attribute myself to any religion in particular, yet since I have grown up celebrating Christmas, it seems to be the usual thing to do. I will even sing religious carols at Christmas, maybe even go to Church. I’m sure many others would say the same. For many, the only time of year when they take part in anything religious will be at Christmas time. Even Atheists will sing along to Hark the Herald Angels Sing.

The secular and consumer side of Christmas seems to be much more prominent nowadays. Traditionally, a British Christmas will consist of buying a Christmas Tree (a Pagan tradition), eating turkey on Christmas day, the Queen’s speech etc. Parts of Christmas celebration such as the advent calendar are most often bought not for their religious significance but for the chocolate inside. But, why not treat yourself?

So lets consider the consumerism of Christmas. The Christmas number 1 will always be of huge significance. Who will hit the top spot? Will it be Adele or Coldplay? All of a sudden it seems to us that Christmas hasn’t started until we see the John Lewis advert or the Coca Cola advert, or until we see bright lights on suburban houses when it gets dark.

Even then, the John Lewis advert promotes family and values of kindness. This year, the John Lewis advert promotes awareness for Age UK. It is no longer about the Nativity but about other kinds of stories promoting other kinds of values. Schools are decreasingly performing the nativity at Christmas; I have seen adaptations of the Jungle Book as the Christmas play. Instead, many school plays will consist of moral stories about kindness, family and love. We don’t need the nativity to understand the importance of these things.

Whether the new meaning of Christmas is a bad or a good thing can be debated. The increase in the consumerism of Christmas is not necessarily a bad thing. Who doesn’t like receiving presents? People seem to actually enjoy the John Lewis and Coca Cola advert. What’s more, why should a holiday that promotes basic human kindness be confined to only one group in society. Why shouldn’t we all be able to celebrate?


Wessex Scene Editor 2016-17 and Features Editor 2015-2016. History Student, Blog writer (http://emeraldalice.blogspot.co.uk/) and traveller. Student Brand Ambassador for the i Paper 2015-2016. Tea lover, cat enthusiast. @Alicetotheskies

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