More people are scaling back for Christmas and saying no to the rampant consumerism the holiday season brings. We didn’t go all out and purchase a lot of gifts for our two kids. They both got three video games and a handheld game console each (which were all on sale). That’s a far cry from the amount of money we spent four years ago. We started scaling back three years ago because the consumerism was taking the real meaning out of Christmas. We see it has hit a fever pitch last Friday with brawls at malls nationwide over the limited edition Air Jordan sneakers, which retail for $180. This isn’t what Christmas is all about. It’s about celebrating one’s Christian faith and being with family. It’s not about the material things. We also give to charity each year. It’s the right thing to do. I learned at an early age that being a servant-leader is what really counts. My parents instilled that in me and we are instilling that in our kids. We have to help the less fortunate among us. We are each other’s keepers. That’s the essence of Christmas. Sadly, that has been lost in America.

We have also decided not to have an expensive dinner as well. One of my cousins is visiting and we are just going to kick back, relax, have pizza and jerk chicken. We just want to have a low-key Christmas day and recapture the true essence of the holiday season. I am pleased to see that there are many people who share our views as well. While retailers may have broken records after Thanksgiving. According to research company ComScore, retail and online sales are up 15% from 2010. A Gallup poll also found Americans expect to spend an average of $756 on Christmas gifts, $70 more than a year ago.  Forecasters expect spending on Christmas to rise 3.1% to $3.4 billion this holiday season. Well, we didn’t spend anywhere near $764 and our kids are just happy and content.

Most people are either watching their spending on their own free will, or have been forced to do so through job losses and being in a financial pinch. I would like to echo the words of Patti LaBelle’s song, “The Reason for the Season,” is all about the way you are living and sharing should be a part of your life. “Don’t let the advertisements rule you, the reason for the season is His [Jesus] love.” That sums it up in a nutshell. Listen carefully to the lyrics of this wonderful song: