Don’t let consumerism overtake the holidays

It’s been a long, hard semester, and now the end is so close I can almost taste it. Only this week and finals lie between us and the holidays, whatever holidays you may celebrate.

It’s definitely showing in the realm of advertising, too. I’ve lost count of how many Christmas sale commercials I’ve heard on my Pandora radio station. So many stores are urging us to buy their stuff that you can practically hear them tripping and shoving each other to be first in line. And it’s alarming how many people are the same way—frantic to get the best deals and the most things.

Between Black Friday and the holidays, this time of year isn’t so much the season to be jolly as the season to show American consumerism at its finest. I get the feeling that too many people focus on the giving and receiving aspect of Christmas, making it a holiday centered around the all-important stuff. As nice as it is to give and receive presents, this should not be the focus of our holidays.

Now, if you asked an average person what the holidays were all about, you would probably get an answer about joy and love and being with family. Nobody likes to admit to being materialistic. However, the fact remains that the way consumerist America shows its joy and love is to give and receive presents, making the presents the most important aspect of the holiday.

I would urge everyone not to let the consumerist aspect of the holiday season get in the way of the things that truly make this time of year special. For some people, that might be drinking eggnog, or watching old Christmas movies with their grandparents. For others it could be caroling with their friends or baking a special cake.

Spending money on whatever deals mega-stores throw at us is hardly the reason to celebrate.

I’m not saying that you should boycott big stores and buy nothing. The holidays would be pretty dreary without people exchanging gifts, and it’s true that a lot of stores offer deals on items that would otherwise be out of a lot of people’s price range.

There are also a lot of organizations that give donated toys or food to children who wouldn’t otherwise get anything, and that is a wonderful kind of charity.

Giving gifts is not the only focus of the holidays, nor is it the main one. I doubt that any of the religious celebrations that happen around this time of year place much of an emphasis on getting stuff as part of the festivities.

As we head off on our break, we should anticipate the things that actually make the holidays special, not the prospect of acquiring more things.


Sharon Gollery/Culture editor

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