The Rushmore Report – The Commercialization of Christmas


Every year around October, I begin preparing myself for the onslaught. The increase in number of emails I receive from businesses, the increase in mail, the increase in money slipping away from my bank account. I’m guessing that I throw away twice as much mail and send two to three times as many emails to the trash before opening in the October to December rush than the rest of the year.

And I don’t really blame the people and businesses sending all of this stuff to me. As the Director of Communications for international non-profit LiveBeyond, I fully realize that this is the time of year when nonprofits like ours meet budgets, businesses meet quotas, and people reach out to each other in ways like never before. It’s a time of sharing and community and…meeting the bottom line.

On days like today, I like to think back to when I was living in Haiti, working in Thomazeau for LiveBeyond. Sure, I still got emails, but my everyday life wasn’t so crowded with advertisements and marketing ploys. Christmas time was just…well Christmas time – a time of year when people made a point to get together. I got to help distribute stockings with toys to local children, hand out gifts to the LiveBeyond Haitian staff, and laugh gleefully at the Haitian v. American Christmas song competitions (The Haitians always won, by the way).

Christmas isn’t so over commercialized in Haiti. In a country where most of the people live on less than a couple bucks a day, who can afford to buy mountains of presents for each other? No new email or billboard was going to encourage one of my friends to make an impulse buy of this year’s big present. So, few companies even bother advertising there.

The holiday in Haiti always gets me thinking about the true reason for our celebration. Mary gave birth in conditions similar to how the women give birth in Haiti. Jesus spent his life in a level of poverty that wasn’t far from what I see in the villages in Haiti. But the Lord chose to use circumstances like these to bring us the absolute Joy of the world! And the advertisements for Jesus’ birth were positively heavenly.

This Christmas season, I encourage you to remember why we are celebrating. Jesus came to this earth to save us all and to show us the true joy we can experience when we are in a loving relationship with the Lord. He spread that to us. Now it’s our job to spread it to the rest of the world. If that means purchasing special gifts or making donations to your favorite nonprofits in honor of our loved ones or buying items on a list for a child in need, then we should absolutely do it. Because that means that one more person is being reached by the Light of the world.

May the Lord bless you this holiday season.

About the Author

Devin Vanderpool is the Director of Communications for LiveBeyond, a non-profit humanitarian organization dedicated to providing clean water, medical care, adequate nutrition and the hope of Christ to the poorest of the poor in Thomazeau, Haiti.


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