John Feehery: Speaking Engagements


Keeping Christmas in the Proper Perspective

Posted on December 25, 2011
The Holy Father said last night: "Today Christmas has become a commercial celebration, whose bright lights hide the mystery of God's humility, which in turn calls us to humility and simplicity.  Let us ask the Lord to help us see through the superficial glitter of this season, and to discover behind it the child in the stable in Bethlehem, so as to find true joy and true light."

In other news, all Hell broke loose when Nike decided to re-release their popular basketball sneakers from the mid-1980’s as a Christmas season gimmick.  But as the AP put it, “Scuffles broke out and police were brought in to quell unrest that nearly turned into riots across the nation Friday following the release of Nike's new Air Jordan basketball shoes — a retro model of one of the most popular Air Jordans ever made.  The mayhem stretched from Washington state to Georgia and was reminiscent of the violence that broke out 20 years ago in many cities as the shoes became popular targets for thieves. It also had a decidedly Black Friday feel as huge crowds of shoppers overwhelmed stores for a must-have item.”

My wife pointed out last night how much fun the kids (my son and his cousins) had before they bothered to open up any gifts.  They ran around like wild banshees, whooping and hollering, dancing and laughing, running around and being silly.

The best present was each other’s presence.  Cheaper, too.

Nobody likes to be a buzz kill during the Christmas season.  Unfortunately, the Christmas season all too often tends to be the buzz kill.

It all started on Black Friday (or Black Thursday, as was the case with a couple of stores) when shoppers rushed in a mad scramble to get the latest electronic devices for their kids (or most likely for themselves).    It was a sad, sad spectacle, but typical of the world we currently live in.

One CNN poll showed that most Americans would rather have their office Christmas party be cancelled.  Life is hard enough without one more event where the office manager gets sloppy drunk and forced revelry becomes more forced than revelry.

Plus, it leaves another night to finish up the Christmas shopping.

Christmas sets up the perfect clash between economics and spiritualism.  Rampant commercialism, run amok, without a hint of restraint, kills the spirit of the season.  People lose perspective as they rush in to buy the latest merchandise.  But, let’s face it, the kids love the toys, and most parents want to make the kids happy.  Those parents who decide they won’t participate at all in the Christmas game will have some kids who not only won’t be very happy, but also will most likely be ostracized by their peers when they get back to school.

Keeping it all in perspective is important to really enjoying the holiday, but that is more difficult than it initially might seem.

USA Today reports more people are giving up on the Christmas season entirely:  “According to Leah Ingram, who runs the Suddenly Frugal blog at, many people are scaling way back this year, if not opting out of Christmas completely. Homemade presents and shared experiences are replacing expensive store-bought gifts among people who are feeling the pinch financially and those who object to the season's rampant consumerism. "Everybody has too much stuff, and maybe that's where it's coming from," Ingram says. Some people simply loathe the holiday. A Facebook search for "I hate Christmas" turns up dozens of results, including pages and posts from people who say they despise almost everything about Christmas: music, shopping, family gatherings, trees and lights.  Others have no choice but to downsize Christmas. Kate Pearson, 33, a single mom in Atlanta, lost her secretarial job in January and has told her two children that they're starting new traditions this year.  They drew a festive, 6-foot tree on craft paper and taped it to a wall. "Instead of gifts, which I can't afford, we're writing letters to each other that we will open on Christmas morning," she says. "We're going to tell each other what we love about our family. And that's it."”

I am way too much of a romantic to give up on Christmas.  But I get the point.

Keeping Christmas in the proper is none too easy, but it sure is important.  Especially if we want to keep around for a while longer.