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Christmas Now and Then 

Christmas is a holiday of seemingly little variance. That is to say, there are no radical departures from the way in which Christmas is celebrated from one year to the next. In other words, there is never going to be a Christmas any time soon that people abandon the tradition of having a Christmas tree. However, there are subtle differences in the Christmas season from year to year mainly deriving from changes in the culture and, to a certain extent, changes in the way we perceive things and, for many, perception is 9/10’s of reality. 

Now, while things do change one should avoid thinking of one as better than the other just merely different. Often, we will look at the Christmases of years past as being “better” than the Christmas of today’s day and age. Part of the reason for this we have a tendency to look back at things that occurred during nostalgia periods as being better than they may have actually been because we crystallize the positives of the era and bring them to the forefront of our memories while negating the memories of the more mundane. There is nothing inherently wrong with this, but it does change our perspective on the way we look at things. There are, however, subtle differences between Christmas past and present.  

The differences are primarily found in a somewhat more secularization of Christmas. This is evidenced in the way in which Christmas trees are called Holiday trees and how Christmas vacations are called winter vacations. Now, some may feel that there is a certain malevolence associated with these changes the fact of the matter is that America has become more inclusive of a variety of cultures. This is commonly referred to as multiculturalism and in an attempt to be more inclusive there are more “generic” variants on celebrating Christmas. This can be evidenced in the prevalence of “Happy Holidays” and “Seasons Greetings” as opposed to “Merry Christmas” as a greeting in a number of retail stores. The stores do, after all, need to attract customers and these all inclusive greetings are one such way they can remain all inclusive.  

Ultimately, the key components of Christmas will never change: the season of giving, of holiday cheer, of exchanging gifts, of religious celebrations, etc will never change and, as such, Christmas really does not change at its core; there may be some occasional minor variants, but as long as the core spirit does not change then Christmas itself really doesn’t change. When people start scrapping Santa Claus and Christmas trees it will be time to hit the panic button. Until then, there really is nothing to worry about!


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