How essential is decorating for spreading Christmas joy?

by Madalyn Ashworth

Christmas decorations and lights on display (photo courtesy of getyourguide.com).

When I was a child, my Nana spared no expense in finding the most elaborate and creative nutcrackers that she could find. Hundreds of nutcrackers of all shapes and sizes filled her apartment and left us grandchildren horrified and intrigued. I wondered to myself, What’s the purpose of the decorations?

Decoration is defined as the process or art of decorating or adorning something. While decorations may be delightful, Christmas decorations are not necessarily essential to the celebration of the Christmas holiday. Millions of dollars are spent on decorations to fund an aspect of the holiday that is essential to nothing but following society’s norms. This money could be spent on something more meaningful, like investing in better gifts for your family, saving that money for something else, or giving in other areas of life that help the community. 

Christmas decorations also contribute to the stress surrounding the holidays. Psychology Today posted an article that claims that the holidays are the most stressful time of the year because of the reunion with family, finding gifts, planning meals, and going on travels. “If your family relationships present challenges, the holidays don’t mean long-awaited intergenerational visits with beloved folks but getting ready to spend multiple days with people who shake your sense of self.” 

In this time of stress, it is important to minimize the things that stress people and to focus on the things that bring friends and families together in a positive way. It is more important to plan all the gatherings, food, presents, and family time than it is to spend time and money on elaborate decorations to make things look better. 

In the grand scheme of things, moderate decorating spreads little Christmas joy, but over-the-top decked out yards covered in lights that are tuned to a radio station are. Children and adults alike gawk at the beautiful lights as they drive by and even go as far as making it an outing. If you are going to decorate, it must be overwhelming and extensive to spread the Christmas spirit joy. If you are not going to be excessive, then do not do it at all. 

This year, there are not many things to do that are socially distant. All Christmas activities have been canceled but one thing that remains is the decorating of yards and homes. This simple craft can bring a smile to the faces of many who are discouraged and give activity to a household to do together. Romans 15:2 “Each of us should please our neighbors for their good, to build them up.” Christmas is about bringing up neighbors and strengthening connections with one another.

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