I Asked My Friends and a Troll One Question: “Does Christmas Matter to You?” The Results Surprised Me.
If you want to stir the ant hill of Facebook, just ask people what they think about Christmas. I did and the results were both fun and disturbing… I guess that’s Funturbing.
As soon as I typed in the question, the conversation took off. We jumped from Christmas to historical debates about Christianity to the origin of Halloween to Donald Trump to the troll to Spiderman and then back to Christmas again.
Gotta love Facebook pingpong. I even have a name for the phenomenon: the Social Media Discussion Disintegration Effect (SoMe DuDE for short).
Christmas is for Troll Blocking and Black Friday
Justin the troll appeared about half way into the conversation, which is typical. Trolls like Justin make it personal and they attack people’s weaknesses rather than contributing to a conversation. He attacked someone for mistyping a few words. Most people ignored him, except me. I blocked the bastard. Merry Christmas Justin.
For some people, Christmas should be renamed Black Friday and the Best Deal Ever. People wake up at two am to go shopping but then we cannot spare a few dollars for the Salvation Army Christmas buckets? Seems weird.
Does Christmas Matter to You?
I love that few people are indifferent about Christmas. People have strong opinions about the whole event. It is one topic that will catch the interest of the Atheists, the Christians, the Undecided and the Onlookers.
- Christmas is for meaning
What impressed me is that almost every person connects with the meaning behind the gift cards and the historical story. No matter what we believe, the season is about giving and kindness. The real meaning of Christmas for most people is sacrifice, thoughtfulness and kindness.
The story of a rejected, frightened immigrant family will never get old.
2. Christmas is for unexpected kindness
For many of us, the meaning of Christmas is experienced through the eyes of children or through the eyes of strangers as we give gifts of unexpected kindness.
I was the recipient of some Christmas joy the other day. I went to the post office with a 29 pound package. In front of me was a senior lady with a one pounder. She took one look at me and insisted that I go ahead of her. My old-people-go-first guilt had a hard time accepting her offer. But I did anyway.
If there ever is a vote to change the name of the season, I choose The Season of Unexpected Kindness. For me, that pretty much sums up the historical story, our religious or non-religious meanings, and our various kindnesses. Unexpected Kindness is what Christmas should be about.
3. Christmas is for doubt
Some people cannot get past the story of Christmas. They doubt, they have issues with the church and they poke holes at faith. I cannot say that I disagree with some of the issues or doubt (For more on this, see my piece on The Minister to the Misfit). I may not have great answers to the questions, but for many of us who are religious, Christmas (the story, not the season) motivates us to care. And that is good
4. Christmas is for extroverts (we introverts may just have to work a little harder)
Few seasons scream “Party time” like Christmas and New Years. I think that if there is a heaven specifically for Extroverts, it will have a lot of Christmasy and New Yearsy celebrations. It will be loud and have lots of personal space violations. It could even be a renamed the Season for Social Orgies. Try getting Walmart to use that one for their 2016 seasonal slogan. As an introvert, that kind of heaven sounds more like social purgatory.
5. Christmas is for family and food
I remember the years when my grandparents were both alive and it was THE thing to do to have family over. As a child, I loved the extended family visits, the games and the Christmas food. Most of the people who responded to my question agreed that the greatest thing about Christmas is family, games, Christmas lights and food that warms your soul.
6. Christmas is for sadness
Christmas can be a sad time for many of us because we have all lost someone. Each person remembers in their own way and Christmas can give the unwelcome gift of grief and pain. If this is you, you may want to see Part II of my Christmas column, The 12 Gifts That Will Help You With Your Holiday Sadness coming out later Thursday afternoon.
7. Christmas is for me and for you
Christmas can be a rich season for so many of us because of our giving, our families, the meaning we give to it, our sense of humor and gift cards. Yes, I love gift-cards because I get what I want. You may think it’s boring and commercialized. You are probably right, but I still love the cards.
What do you think about the season? Could be the giving, the kindness, the family experiences or the gifts. The season may bring up your sadness or your doubt. No matter, I wish you a Merry one and I hope that for you, and for us all the next year is truly a better one.
At the Good Men Project, we are having the conversation that no one else is having. Join us! I’d love to hear your thoughts about my question: “Does Christmas still matter to you?“
Keep it Real
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