But just when we think it is all so overblown, so far from what the true meaning of the season should be, some little something brings us up short and reminds us of what Christmas really is all about.
Maybe it is the very contrast between what Christmas should be and what it has evolved into that demonstrates to us the heart of the matter.
People at my church, Heritage Baptist Fellowship, were reminded this past week in a truly unexpected way.
The icy road conditions on Wednesday night came just when church members and our pastor were preparing for a church party in the fellowship hall for dinner and the wrapping of gifts for needy children.
The holiday meal was all cooked and ready and everything set up when the word came that roads were turning treacherous. By the time they had put away the food and prepared to leave, they could not get out, and the area roads were too dangerous.
Church staff and members returned to the church, gathering up stranded motorists along the way.
Soon there were more than 50 people sheltered from the storm.
A troupe of "Nutcracker" dancers, young teens that had been practicing at Reinhardt University that afternoon for their upcoming production, were among those who sought a place of refuge.
Young and old alike poured into the church building looking for a place to get warm.
The church members pulled out the food that had already been prepared and served it up. Folks spent the night sleeping on the sanctuary in the pews and wherever they could find a place to wrap up and close their eyes.
As one church member said, there was room at our stable for all, just like 2,000 years ago when a carpenter and his young bride sought a place to rest and prepare for the birth of a child.
That story is just one of dozens, perhaps hundreds of tales of Good Samaritans who lent a helping hand when "Ice Capades 2010" hit our county.
Police and fire personnel, road crews, school transportation people, and just plain folks went the distance to help one another in a spirit of holiday caring.
Members of the Rotary Club of Canton and other organizations spend a few hours ringing the bell for the Salvation Army in front of stores and businesses. In those few minutes they take out of their own schedule, they receive more than they give.
They see little children who beg their parents to give; they see people in shabby coats who dig deep into their pockets to pull out a few coins to give.
Sometimes they see "secret Santas," who drop a big wad of bills into the kettle in what seems like a Christmas miracle of giving.
Many of us find the true meaning of the season in church on Christmas Eve, in the glow of the candles and the sound of the music, in the quiet worship time that heralds the birth of a king.
Sometimes it is in the eyes of a little child on Christmas Eve listening to the Christmas story, gazing up at us with love and trust, filled with the excitement and awe and innocence of childhood.
We might see it in the unexpected magic of snowflakes drifting down from a gray and heavy sky, a reminder of how fragile life is.
Or perhaps it comes when rocking a baby to sleep and looking at the delicacy of his eyelids and the softness of his cheek, and being reminded of the miracle that happened through another baby in another time that still lives today.
And sometimes it just comes over us when we lest expect it, when we are hurrying around, bone-weary from shopping and decorating, going to parties and wrapping gifts. Fretting over the commercialization of the season and wondering what it is all about.
By the way, about those Christmas gifts for children in need this holiday that the ice kept from getting wrapped ... we wrapped them the next night in a flurry of paper and flying scissors that made light work of the task.
As I looked at the warm coats and pants, the toys and gloves, I thought about those little children and how they would feel on Christmas morning when Santa did come after all.
Those few minutes spent helping others brought me real Christmas joy.
I am thankful this season for my family, my church and friends, and each and every blessing this year has brought.
As we gather with friends and family around the tree and around the table across our community, I hope it finds you.
I hope you experience the peace and joy of that first Christmas and the promise that it brings.
Rebecca Johnston is former editor of The Cherokee Tribune.