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'Tis the season

Dec. 1, 2000

Don't let commercialism become focus of holidays

The Christmas season has become more commercialized, and with every year that goes by, it seems the true meaning of Christmas is gradually forgotten. We offer five suggestions that, in our now-commercialized holiday season, might make Christmas more enjoyable, less expensive and more meaningful:

First, be practical. The Three Wise Men each brought one gift for baby Jesus, not truckloads. Follow this example. Unfortunately, many people go overboard in their efforts to get all the gifts their friends and family members want, which might leave them with high credit card bills. Only buy what you can afford and remember that it's the thought that counts when receiving and purchasing gifts for others.

Second, be polite. The malls and shopping centers will undoubtedly be packed. In the quest for those hard-to-find gifts, remember that most people are there for the same reasons you are -- just trying to get their shopping done. Treat people with some respect; be patient and courteous so you don't ruin someone's day by pushing and shoving through the crowds.

Third, enjoy the time with your loved ones. Spending time with the family is what the holidays are all about. Some families spend the holiday arguing and fighting. Don't be one of them. Your family will not always be there, so value that time with your parents, grandparents and loved ones.

Fourth, respect other peoples' practices. Christmas is not the only holiday being celebrated this time of year. Maybe this holiday season would be a good time to learn more about the other holidays being celebrated in our country, like Hanukkah and Kwanzaa. Find the common threads between these celebrations and know that no matter what is being celebrated, the holiday season is special to everyone.

Lastly, remember the reason for the season. The holiday most Americans will celebrate really has nothing to do with bright lights, decorated trees, busy shopping malls or stuffing your face with food. Christmas is a celebration of the birth of Jesus Christ, and no one has to spend hundreds of dollars on decorations, gifts or food to celebrate that.

Remember the elements of the holiday season that are most important, and Christmas this year might be more meaningful and enjoyable, despite the era of commercialization we now live in.