More like 24 at this point.
What does Christmas mean?
A. Celebrating the birth of Jesus
B. Getting a lot of presents
C. Fighting for a parking spot at the mall
D. All of the above
For most Americans, I suspect the answer is "D" "All of the Above"
People can complain until they are blue in the face that Christmas has become too commercialized over the years. Children ask for things like Macbook Air's when they are only 7 years old. (My mom would laugh in my face if I asked for one now.) Instead of $200 bicycles, children ask for $200 gaming consoles. Barbie's dream house has an elevator in it.
I love getting new things for Christmas, but over the years what I've asked for has changed greatly. I remember when I was 10 years old I got a "My Twin" doll for Christmas. I really really really wanted her. Then I had a nightmare that she attacked me, so she went in my closet before I released her. I went from sleeping with her every night, to hiding her in a closet, to finally setting her up on a high shelf to pose in my room. That was quite an expensive toy to just set on a high shelf and collect dust. To this day, she sits there. Her friend does too (I got a My Twin "friend" doll the next year.).
Nowadays I actually look forward to getting practical gifts. I've asked for things like potholders, oven mitts, and jeans. I've asked for sheet music and entertainment, since I live alone with no cable. I ask for things I know I will use and need. I'm getting boring in my old age.
I love celebrating Christmas with gifts. God gave us his son on Christmas Day (Not literally, since Jesus was actually born in like April or June [Those are close right?].) . In that same way, I think it is important for us to give each other gifts. Not that we can gift each other anything nearly as important as Jesus, but that we can remember the spirit of giving. We can't help but get the fringe benefit of receiving without denying someone else the spirit of giving. It may not be completely altruistic to give presents on Christmas, but there are arguments to suggest that nothing is altruistic. As long as receiving is accompanied by thankfulness and humbleness, I think it's appropriate for the season. So maybe a seven year old does not need a Macbook Air, and a ten year old does not need a $100+ "My Twin" doll that freaks her out two weeks later. So the seven year old may be tough out of luck in the Macbook department, and I may not have always enjoyed my very expensive, look alike. However, the 7 year old is sure to get some things on her list, and I really appreciated my parents listening to what I wanted when I was ten.
As for fighting for a parking spot at the mall, I honestly have no idea why that has to accompany Christmas. A necessary evil I suppose to balance out all the goodwill and cheer.
Happy Christmahanakwanzika folks! (I'm not trying to be P.C. I just think it's funny.)