Commercialism ruins the holiday season

October is over and that means it is officially the holiday season. Many have already put their Christmas trees up and the stores have switched their spooky orange and black displays to bright red and green for the holiday season, completely forgetting that Thanksgiving exists. 

While I personally wait to put up Christmas decor and listen to holiday music until after Thanksgiving, that’s not the case for many. They want to experience the joy of the season for as long as possible, while I am just trying to keep my fall decor up a little longer. 

There is nothing wrong with celebrating early. I am not one to judge how soon you’re listening to Mariah Carey and Michael Bublé on repeat. However, I am going to judge commercialism that’s  taking away the spirit of the holidays, just leaving greed and selfishness behind.

The holiday I will be speaking about is Christmas as it is what I celebrate, and I don’t want to speak for other cultures and religions. 

Christmas is intended to be a time of family, hope and peace. However, it has turned to chaos as people run to the store to get the perfect gift for their relative before it sells out and max out their credit cards. Someone might say they don’t want anything, or they just want something homemade, but unless you’re still a kid, tha’s usually not the case. You’re tasked with finding a gift, and even harder, you have to find a present someone will actually use. 

While I am appreciative of the gifts I receive, I also have a new perspective as an adult of how stressful and expensive Christmas can be. It can be difficult to find gifts for people, especially my brothers. If they want something, they just buy it. For birthdays, I just give them cash or gift cards, but that is a big no-no in my family for Christmas. This leaves me searching for hours and texting all their friends to try and figure out what to get them. Most of the time, I finally find something and then it sits in their closet never to be used. 

I also get plenty of gifts that I don’t need or really want, leaving them sitting in my closet until I finally donate them, or if I’m honest, regift them. I appreciate the gesture, but also feel bad as I am wasting their money and genuinely don’t have a need for the present. As an environmental science major, I really hate how much trash the holiday generates from unwanted gifts, as well as the single-use wrapping and packaging. 

Christmas is a beautiful holiday and I love seeing the family I haven’t seen in a while. However, commercialism has us competing to get the best gifts and ensuring our entire house is decorated. Then there’s seasonal everything with cups, wrapping paper, coffee creamer and more filling the grocery shelves. This leaves behind a wasteful, stressful holiday that teaches selfishness and greed. 

I remember going to my grandparents’ on Christmas and comparing gifts with my cousin trying to see who got the best one and whose parents spent the most money. This practice was terrible to our parents who worked so hard to make the holiday special and left many of us feeling selfish and sad that we didn’t get what someone else got. This is not the spirit of Christmas. 

We need to remember the reason for the season and not get caught up in all the stress. Ignore the constant emails and advertisements from retail chains claiming you must get your gifts now and just enjoy the season.

Photo Credit: Francine Orr/Los Angeles Times/TNS

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