"Put the Christ back in Christmas" is a phrase I often hear this time of year, but still don't know what it means. As I get older, I know less and less what Christmas and the Holidays are about, only that I feel they are anticlimactic every year. I make cards and candies, make and buy gifts and then the few days of celebration come and it all feels empty- I spend time with people I like but can't relate to and it seems we all exchange gifts that noone really wants anyway.
Looking at the history of "Christmas", it really is a multicultural holiday. Putting the "Christ" back in Christmas might mean to many the removal of commercialism from the holidays, but these folks often forget that Christmas was designed to replace Saturnalia and other Solstice festivals where people would drink to excess and exchange gifts. Our modern day version is an amalgamation of that old holiday, a few Christian moral messages and Capitalism and Consumerism. What Christmas "should" be is what we make it.
As a child, I was quite happy with Consumerism. I got lots of cool toys for Christmas including a Gameboy, a bike and various books, candies, socks and underwear. I'm not sure why I felt let down as I got older. Perhaps I was hoping for something more than just more toys- which I had plenty of anyway and was hoping for something deeper. Like my disillusionment with the church, I became disillusioned with the work world and even disillusioned about Christmas.
Part of me wants to be a cynic and deride the comedy contained in Christmas and religion, but there is still a part of me that dreams and hopes that Christmas is something more: That Santa Claus and God may not really exist, but that his mythical quality is a quality found in the universe itself.
I think we've lost touch with that real connection to the universe and it makes me really sad. I don't think putting the "Christ" back in Christmas is going to happen and fix everything.