Christmas Day - a day my entire family looks forward to every year. To our family, it is not so much a religious celebration, but rather a celebration of family culture and togetherness. Our consumption rituals over the course of many years, has shaped our interpretation and understanding of this holiday. Although there are factors that have changed our celebration, in general, Christmas Day is a day where we get up early, dress nicely, exchange gifts, and spend the rest of the day hanging around the house together, and eat together. What makes this holiday so special to us is that my mother’s birthday falls on the same day and so, we do not only celebrate togetherness, but also the love and admiration we have for our mother.
The Meanings of Christmas Day
The deeper meanings of our Christmas consumption ritual can be categorized into several conceptual themes, such as attention to detail, indulgence, and values including respect for the elderly and collectivism. Attention to detail can be seen throughout the entire day. It starts in the morning, when everyone gets dressed to match “our Christmas colors”: red, white, black, or silver. Once everyone is dressed, we all go downstairs and take our annual Christmas family pictures. If you compare the pictures of previous years, you will notice how there is a pattern in the littlest aspects of the picture. Our parents would always be in the center of the picture in front of the Christmas tree, whereas all the children are sitting around them with usually the younger ones closest to the center. After the pictures are taken, brunch is served. Again, a lot of detail goes into setting the table and organizing all of the food, whether it is brunch or dinner. We alw...
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...ture foods, and meaning transferred through symbols. As discussed throughout this paper, we can see that successful rituals also change over time. New family members, but also the loss of family members bring about new traditions and show us that there is a balanced combination of stability and flexibility when we speak about rituals. I believe that this balance of familiarity and novelty helps in maintaining the holiday’s meaningfulness. Culture plays a big role in emphasizing stability when needed, while innovation helps us when we are in need of something different. Each year, we come together to revisit something familiar, yet continuously add new layers of meaning, allowing constant reinterpretation of rituals.
Wallendorf, M., & Arnould, E. J. (1991). "We Gather Together": Consumption rituals of thanksgiving day. Journal of consumer research, 13-31.
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