THE holiday season is meant to be a time of spiritual reflection, relaxation and renewal.
According to Lindisfarne Anglican Grammar School principal Chris Duncan, today's Christmas celebrations, New Year's parties and family holidays seem designed to take that last little bit of energy and ensure we're totally left on empty when we return to work.
In his latest school newsletter, has raised the issue of the madness surrounding this time of the year.
"We've lost the real reason we're supposed to be celebrating," Mr Duncan said.
"It went a while ago but seems to be getting worse each year."
As the end of the year neared, Australians began to think about Christmas and the "unholy trinity of David Jones, Myer and Harvey Norman".
"As the days countdown to Christmas you can almost see smoke streaming from the ATMs that adorn our Westfield cathedrals.
"I don't want to make the Dalai Lama sound like a party animal but I do think we've lost the plot at Christmas," Mr Duncan said.
The traditional get-together with friends and family required so much preparation, most people simply looked forward to the end of the silly season and even the family holiday didn't bring much respite.
"Many people I know look forward to Boxing Day, to the Melbourne test and the start of the Sydney to Hobart, signs that the excesses leading up to December 25 are now receding," Mr Duncan said.
The planning and preparation of it all took so much out of people, even going away on the family vacation only left people feeling exhausted.
Once people came back from their annual holiday they came up with all sort of ideas to recover.
People stopped drinking and eating to recover from a season which should really be about stability and rejuvenation.
"It's not a process of renewal," Mr Duncan said.
Murwillumbah District Business Chamber presidents Toni Zuschke said for people without kids it was hard to embrace Christmas.
"Kids seem to get the message and in our family they really love the process of celebrating Christmas.
"It's the putting up of the tree, the visits by relatives and the making of Christmas rumble our kids really love.
"It's really about family and the gathering around a table to share Christmas dinner," Mrs Zuschke said.
The presence of a Christmas spirit depended on how close people were to religion.
"In recent times, society's marketing machine has portrayed Christmas in a non-religious way and because of that it's easy to forget about the real reason for celebrating; the birth of Christ," Mrs Zuschke said.
However, there was light at the end of the tunnel for those who wished for a more spiritual approach to Christmas.
"The Sikh temple in Murwillumbah has been lit up by hundreds of lights and they don't even celebrate Christmas.
"What they're saying to the community is 'we know what you're doing and want to be part of it'," Mrs Zuschke said.
The new politically correct practice of calling Christmas the holiday season and wishing people "Happy Holidays" rather than "Merry Christmas" was rather futile.
"We're Aussies and are hard to change.
"It may be politically correct but will be really say it," Mrs Zuschke said.
What does Christmas mean to you?
This poll ended on 24 December 2012.
Celebrating the birth of Jesus Christ - 29%
Getting together with family and friends - 43%
Preparing to shop 'til you drop at Boxing Day sales - 1%
A chance to hit the beach - 1%
Nothing - I don't mark the day at all - 14%
Giving and receiving presents - 9%
This is not a scientific poll. The results reflect only the opinions of those who chose to participate.
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