I know I'm deviating from the Expected Christmas Routine by writing this. Denouncing the commercialism of Christmas is supposed to be a Christmas tradition, right up there with drinking eggnog, hanging tinsel, and singing "O Come, O Come, Emmanuel." So it's true confession time: I like giving gifts for Christmas. I have a personal rule: no gift cards for the people on my gift list. I like spending some time pondering each person in my family, turning over all the different things they like to do, maybe even learning something new about them. I like to hunt for a gift that will fit with their interests but still be a surprise. It starts at Thanksgiving with some sleuthing. For each person, "What have you been up to? Any big plans?" And something will make their eyes light up with enthusiasm. And I start scheming how I can give a gift that will become a part of that, a part of what makes this life good for them. And I do it in the name of Jesus. I hope even the non-Christian relatives have some happy memories of Christmas.
Are the merchants taking advantage? Oh, no doubt. But I have a bigger problem with the low quality and predictable nature of the merchandise than with the fact that they're trying to make a sale. It doesn't have to be a decadent spending frenzy; nobody is making me spend any particular amount. And the gifts don't have to upstage the reason for the celebration. I'm glad for a license to reconnect with the people in my family.
So I like giving gifts for Christmas. I expect I'm not alone.