COLUMN: We can’t forget what Christmas is really all about

Between the hustle and bustle of the holiday season, the meaning Christmas has been lost in translation.

I never thought I’d be the one saying that Christmas isn’t about the gifts and all the shiny stuff you get from the bearded guy in the red suit. No, really, I wouldn’t even look at the cards, I’d just shred my way through the wrappings to get to that big Lego set that I could hear shaking from a mile away.

Funny how things change and how we grow up. Most of us anyway.

What I haven’t been able to understand in the last few years however, is why there’s a twinkle of madness in everyone’s eyes once the calendar rolls into December, a feeling driven by an irresistible urgency to shop and slam down your credit card first in line.

And it gets worse from there.

Parking lots disintegrate into shocking charades of recklessness and vanity, from drivers backing out in a hurry without looking and speeding like the hot winds of hell, to people running around aimlessly without paying attention to their surroundings whatsoever.

In the malls, stores reek of BO, frustration and bad financial decisions as hundreds of thousands cram themselves into claustrophobic places, only to wait several hours to get something that may not even be worn, opened, or used in any way.

Black Friday, Green Monday, Red Tuesday, Pink Wednesday, Boxing Day, it doesn’t matter what it’s called, the end goal is the same: disguise a mediocre discount to make it look so irresistible that you’d sell your children for medical experiments just to get it.

Reality is, if a “deal” runs out, it runs out. Often times it’s not so much the gift that matters, it’s the gesture. It won’t matter to your special someone if you don’t get them that special-edition Power Rangers scarf they wanted, they’ll be OK with a plain-but-just-as-warm one too.

But is this what Christmas is all about nowadays? Getting the hottest deal and buying stuff? Let’s not forget that millions around the globe can’t even understand what Christmas even is, as their more immediate line of thought is, “What am I going to eat tonight” and “I am cold and alone.”

Not getting that Xbox One from Santa doesn’t make the world feel hopeless, a child who dies alone from starvation does.

Let’s change the beat this Christmas. Be respectful and mindful of everyone around you and don’t rush to the nearest mall like the sky’s falling. Visit the local food bank or shelter and drop off some canned food or a pack of warm socks you don’t need. Reach out to your friends and family, see how they’re doing. Everyone should have someone by their side this Christmas and be warm and with a full belly, not just the select few.

After all, that’s what Christmas is all about, isn’t it?

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Octavian Lacatusu is a reporter with the News Mirror.