In a lot of traditional Buddhist cultures, like Sri Lanka, birthdays are celebrated by giving gifts -- which is a great form of making merit -- instead of getting them. The goal is to reduce greed, one of the great causes of unhappiness. But due to Western influence, many Buddhists also get them nowadays. More
- Thais celebrate international holidays from Halloween to Xmas, using the opportunity the way the West does -- capitalizing on it (mythailife.com).
A Buddhist Solution to Xmas
I grew up in a brown, liberal-leaning, West Coast family, Catholic with Puritanical roots. We celebrated the Holiday Season in typical California fashion: the dying tree, the polyester batting snow, the annual TV specials with all the best Claymation and super-catchy ditties like Little Drummer Boy.
My parents went into debt to get presents under the tree. We took it for granted. My friend at school talked of going to Temple. It wasn't a Japanese temple, maybe Jewish or a lesser Christian sect, like 7th Day Adventist.
A Buddhist Problem with Christmas
Jess Row (Slate.com)
If my brother could rap or draw or do stand up impersonations
A Traditional Scandinavian Christmas
"Live Your Life" (and stop chasing that paper) from our favorite
hardcore Christian White Rap Screamo group Plea for Purging
Let go of my Air Jordans or I'll kill ya, muthalover!
Xmas in neighboring Mexico (nacnet.org)
Traditions of giving in Buddhism
Buddhism acknowledges that we exist in a vast network of life, continuously the recipients of the generosity of others. Recognizing this fact, we can choose to orient ourselves progressively to others, developing loving-kindness towards them and learning to give in all ways to all beings. That is the traditional view and the exhortation to practice.... When they begin to explore Buddhism, most people are struck by how ubiquitous the practice of generosity is.... Starting with the Buddha, it has always been emphasized that a progressively open-handed and open-hearted orientation to life is essential... More