By Manly P. Hall (33°) – “It may well happen that we can injure our children on this occasion by our very desire to please them. We should never teach the young by word or example that Christmas is only a lavish season in which we cater to all their wishes.
We should never substitute presents for parental thoughtfulness through the year, or use them in an effort to buy respect or admiration.
A Christmas present is a symbol.
We give of what we have to indicate our intention to give of what we are. We tell our loved ones that they may depend upon us for strength and integrity and protection.
It is a mistake if we allow the spirit of Christmas to be exhausted on a symbolic level. Nor should we bury the spirit of Christmas under a stack of presents.
We say that it is unfortunate that times have changed and that Christmas is now a heavy economic responsibility. This is in part due to a general misunderstanding and to the changes which the motions of civilization have wrought.
The average person is no longer sufficiently resourceful or skillful to make with his own hands the gifts for his loved ones. He feels that he does not have the time, but, in fact, he lacks the inclination. So today he simply goes out and buys and joins the throng which has transformed this gentle festival into a merchants’ holiday.
Is the merchant really to blame because we try to buy a spiritual experience which can come to us only in our hearts?”