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Holiday Consumerism

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In the days leading up to Christmas, it is custom for people around the world to buy trees, send cards, and sell their souls for whatever mainstream gadget is on the market. Once all of the gifts are opened, the rest of the day is pretty anticlimactic. Are you a better person now that you have that designer purse? Does an eight year old really need an iPad? (Kids basically become zombies with weak social skills but that is a whole different conversation.) I am not saying that I am not a part of the consumer frenzy of the holidays, however, I think it is time to assess how Christmas has changed to become a national hallmark of materialism.

Christmas is the ultimate excuse to fill the materialistic void with all of the deals that flood our email inboxes. It is typically the “largest economic stimulus” as sales increase dramatically in almost all retail areas. According to a 2016 Statistica survey, 29 percent of respondents stated that they expected to spend over 500 U.S. dollars on gifts for the holiday season. This is disappointing because after the gifts are opened, they quickly lose their meaning as we run back to the mall for the New Years Deals. Then the cycle starts all over. As a society, we are in an endless loop of wanting more and more. I realize that I am generalizing, but our economy and people’s livelihoods depend, in part, on this insatiable cycle.

In general, Christmas has strayed away from its traditional Christian roots to represent a more secular holiday of celebration. But whether Christian or not, gifts are a staple of any household. We are set on the mentality that Christmas isn’t Christmas unless there are gifts under the tree. The little things like spending time with loved ones and watching sappy movies are overshadowed by the gifts.

With all of that said, I do not think that there is anything wrong with wanting to surprise family and friends. It is a great feeling to see everyone’s faces light up with excitement on Christmas morning. I am just hoping that people will reflect on what this special time of year is really all about: family, food, and Freeform’s “25 Days of Christmas.”

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