Christmas Too Commercial?

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The countdown of the 12 days of Christmas began Wednesday, which means retailers want you shoppers to know you have fewer than 2 weeks to finish your gift buying. So are we too worried about picking out the perfect gifts and forgetting all about why we celebrate the holiday in the first place?

Gary Loe reports whether commercialism is overtaking the true meaning of Christmas.

We visited with Knoxville clergy members to find out if Christians are caught up in the retail aspect of Christmas and overlooking Christ's birthday.

Choir singers of First A.M.E. Zion Church on Bertrand Street near downtown Knoxville rehearse for Christmas Day services. Reverend Ezra Maize says church and community members are overwhelmingly in tune with the true meaning of the holy day.

"I believe here in Knoxville that it is the desire of the people to set aside everything else and to really focus on the true meaning of Christmas, which is the birth of Jesus Christ," Maize said.

Still, retailers cash-in on the December 25th religious observance as shoppers hunt for bargains, stretching their Christmas gift buying power. Father Michael Woods of All Saints Catholic Church on Cedar Bluff says commercializing Christmas is now part of life.

"I think they piggyback on each other, but Christmas is definitely about giving, but it's because we have received," Father Woods said.

Boys and girls worshiping at All Saints prepare to receive the sacrament of their first Holy Communion. Their belief in Santa Claus doesn't overshadow Christ's birthday.

"God loving us so much that he sends his son, the story is magic. Everybody catches it," Father Woods said.

Clergy on both sides of town agree. Presents under the tree are part of Christmas, but we must remember why we give gifts to loved ones.

"You do have the opportunity not to give to your children, not to give to family and friends, but to give to somebody out there that is really, really in need of a blessing," Maize said.

Father Michael encourages us that if you've already bought to show your love for the ones you love, don't forget those who are unloved this Christmas. He says do something for them.