As the Christmas season begins and Thanksgiving ends, I find myself wondering when the Christmas season actually, technically began.

Was it the day after Thanksgiving? Was it right after Halloween? Or was it perhaps in the middle of October when Christmas commercials began appearing telling us to buy, buy, buy?

It surprised me that Christmas commercials appeared even before Halloween passed, showing just how much emphasis our country places on consumerism instead of family. I remember when I was a little kid, Christmas seemed to be more about togetherness and happiness, not necessarily buying the most gifts for your children. However, the angle of Christmas seems to have shifted from people to presents.

The holiday spirit seems to only be expressed in the dozens of commercials telling Americans to buy everything they can in order to show they care about other people. Whatever happened to a simple and thoughtful gift for someone important? The holiday spirit is not only represented in material possessions, in fact they should be only a minor part of the equation.

It is not the object you give, but the thought behind it. It is not the amount of money you spend on gifts, but the amount of time you spend with family and friends.

The emphasis needs to shift back to family a little bit, otherwise the true spirit of Christmas is simply lost in the frenzy of shopping. Getting a gift is a great way to show you care about someone, but do not make that your only expression of warmth.

The never ending commercials about shopping and sales only push the idea that presents make Christmas, not the people you are with. The idea of Christmas is to promote love, generosity, and good will towards other. But it appears that big companies have warped Americans’ minds into thinking these virtues can only be expressed through gifts. It is my hope that eventually children will learn Christmas is not only about Santa and presents, but about the memories you create with those you love.

I hope everyone has a great holiday season and enjoys their long break from school. I hope that while you are at home you feel the Christmas spirit, not with gifts, but with those you care about.