It’s your birthday, and everyone else is giving each other gifts instead of celebrating you. This is how Jesus feels about Christmas.
Christmas is a Christian holiday to celebrate the birth of God’s son, Jesus Christ, but over time, the Christmas tradition has evolved to be the centerpiece of the holiday season for people of many beliefs — or no beliefs.
There is a debate about what the true meaning of Christmas is and why it should be celebrated.
“I believe the true meaning of Christmas is about Christ’s birth,” junior Purity Ocegueda said. “Him being born to be our savior is the greatest gift of all. By that, it brings the world together in a different way that no other holiday does and causes us to give to humanity on a whole other level. There’s unity and peace that comes with the spirit of Christmas that you can feel in the air.”
A common Christmas tradition is to give gifts to family and friends in honor of the Three Magi who brought newborn Jesus the gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh. The popularization of Christmas can be credited to big businesses using the traditional gift-giving during Christmas to promote their products and sales. Every store from Lowes to Macy’s can be seen filled with Christmas decorations, some stores even as early as August in an attempt to capitalize on the holiday season for as long as possible.
At first, companies promoted Christmas products to give as gifts to other people. Now, companies use the season to market their items, but they are removing the “Christ” from Christmas. The Christian side argues that society must return to a more traditional Christmas season that is centered around Jesus and family relationships. The non-Christian side argues that the holiday has strayed so far from religion that it is now everyone’s holiday, and that it is wrong to force religion upon those who do not want it.
“In my opinion, religion shouldn’t have to be a part of Christmas,” senior Jan Andrew Payoyo said. “I know how Christmas is technically about celebrating Christ, but these days, I think Christmas should be celebrated religiously by those who want to celebrate it religiously. People shouldn’t be forced to celebrate Christmas religiously because that’s just forcing people to follow the practices of a religion they may not believe in.”
Starbucks is known to have special edition holiday cups, usually with Christmas patterns and scenes. In previous years, Starbucks has had Christmas trees, ornaments, reindeer and other winter scenes. Then, in 2015, Joshua Feuerstein, an evangelical internet personality, criticized Starbucks’s plain red cups in a rant on Facebook saying “Do you realize that Starbucks wanted to take Christ and Christmas off of their brand-new cups? That’s why they’re just plain red!” In response to Feuerstein’s comments, Starbucks claimed that they want “to create a culture of belonging, inclusion and diversity.”
Then-Presidential Candidate Donald Trump criticized the plain red cups at a campaign rally saying “No more ‘Merry Christmas’ at Starbucks. No more. Maybe we should boycott Starbucks.”
In 2017, Starbucks decided to shift back to their more garish style of holiday cups by offering a white cup embellished with many holiday illustrations. One of the illustrations is theorized to be a same-sex couple, which — while not explicitly stated on the cup — was suggested by the commercial for the cup that showed two women holding hands on a coffee date. Starbucks has neither denied nor confirmed the theory, but the images have upset some people who believe Starbucks is forcing a “gay agenda” on its customers.
This year, Starbucks decided to dive even further into removing the religious meaning of the holidays and write “Merry Coffee” on their cups rather than the classic “Merry Christmas.”
“Sadly, I think we are starting to lose the meaning of Christmas,” Ocegueda said. “It seems to be overly commercialized and all about consuming rather than giving and sacrifice. The controversy of being ‘politically correct’ by saying ‘happy holidays’ to not offend anyone, instead of Merry Christmas.”
Many people now have forgotten the importance of Christmas and aren’t teaching newer generations about the origins of the holiday. A survey carried out by Young Poll found that more than a quarter of children did not know that Christmas was intended to celebrate the birth of Jesus.
“Christmas was originally for valuing family time and celebrating the birth of Jesus, but now I feel people are extremely greedy and only worry about what presents they will be receiving,” senior Denver Dingle, Vice President of the Fellowship of Christian Athletes, said.
Over the years, Christmas has slowly lost its meaning, and Christians are now left with a holiday that is used by every culture and every religion without a thought given to what it truly means and what Christians are really celebrating.