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The Commerce of Christmas

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By HVculture on December 8, 2011

There’s a really profound moment in the Charlie Brown Christmas special when Linus steps away from the other members of the Peanuts gallery to discuss the meaning of Christmas.

It’s a moment that still has the power to surprise, because contrary to what the audience assumes Linus is going to say is the meaning of Christmas, Linus provides the literal, religious definition of what Christmas is. It’s sneaky and ballsy and still never fails to be moving.

The reason, we suspect, is because Christmas has lost its meaning. Even people who celebrate Christmas tend to forget that on some level it’s a Christian celebration for the birth of their savior.

The reality is, however, it’s become a secular holiday full of yuletide cheer, the perfect tree to decorate, television specials, a big family dinner, lots of booze, shopping and the pressure to give loved ones expensive gifts.

This is neither good nor bad. It’s all about perspective and keeping what’s important close to the heart.

There is middle ground to be had between both the religious celebration and the consumer celebration of Christmas. It’s something the Charlie Brown Christmas special always understood and why that special still resonates 40 years later.

Outright.com put together an interesting infographic about Christmas spending. If ever there were a great reminder that Christmas is about being around loved ones, laughing, snuggling on the couch with your significant other, drinking hot toddies, not being afraid to wear a horrible looking sweater and sing carols and finding a way to show the people you love that you love them, it would be this infographic.

Look at all this money that’s spent! It’s crazy. Wouldn’t the $700 average spending amount be put to better use spending it on the less fortunate or donating it to a shelter in need?

We’re not trying to be Christmas cranks — far from it. Sometimes it makes us sad that ultimately Christmas gets lost in a month-long shopping bender leading up to a nice dinner with the family.

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