Celebrations and festivities are games. When we take part in games, we might just play them according to the rules. The fun might be greatest when we forget, for a moment, that we are just playing a game.
However, at some point we should become aware of the game-like nature of the celebrations we take part in. If we do, we can decide whether we want to take part, how we want to celebrate, what we expect and how we want to do it. We can actively shape the celebration and redesign the game and its rules as we want them to be. If we do not do this, others will do so for us. Others will then use the festivity for their own interest. In a society that is, to a large extent, controlled by commerce, celebrations will then be commercialized. From events of togetherness, community and mutual support, our celebrations will then turn into empty forms and into cold appendices of a consumerist economy. Others might attempt to sneak in an ideological message of some kind.
So we should spend a little bit of time on reflection here. I am simply suggesting that we think about it, talk about it among each other and take control of our festivities again. An unexamined life is not worth living, according to Socrates. Maybe we can vary this a little bit: an unexamined celebration is not worth celebrating.
(The picture is from http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Deko-Weihnachtsmann_aufblasbar.JPG.)