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The Comenian

The student news site of Moravian University

The Comenian

The student news site of Moravian University

The Comenian

The Holidays are a Commercialized Nightmare

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Let’s be honest: the holiday season has, for the longest time, been about commercialized consumerism. Ignoring the fact that some companies begin the festivities nearly two months in advance, the holiday season extends to those who may not celebrate for the religious aspect, which is a breeding ground for modern consumerism.

Now, that doesn’t mean that you have to strictly celebrate every holiday for the religion behind it; it simply means that the holiday season has become a way for corporations to paint an unrealistic picture for people and families regarding the holiday season.

So what does that mean? Well, let’s think about the ways that Christmas (I’m using holidays and Christmas interchangeably since it’s mainly Christmas that gets commercialized) movies and advertisements market the “perfect holiday.” It’s a season of giving, where you spend time with family, have a home-cooked meal, exchange presents, and romp around in the snow-covered hills with loved ones. Neighborhoods are covered with pretty lights, and malls across the country put up giant Christmas trees with a Santa ready to take pictures with adoring children. Consider how Christmas is portrayed in the media. This idea of “Christmas spirit” comes to fruition in almost every Christmas movie, and corporations advertise the “perfect gift” for that special someone in your life. Everywhere, it seems that this is the way that the Holiday season should be; it’s the perfect Christmas.

If only it were feasible.

Be honest: do you think everyone is having the same “perfect” Christmas like what you see in those movies? According to a 2021 article from The Independent, nearly a quarter of all Americans feel as though they will struggle to afford it. And that was in 2021; I highly doubt much has changed in two years.

Even just thinking about the way that our system is set up, it’s impossible for some people to afford the “perfect Christmas.” Families in lower socio-economic situations struggling to get by normally are just unable to spend money during the holiday season. I’m not going to get into the nitty-gritty here, but a system that forces people into these situations that then tries to get these same people to spend money they don’t have on a holiday they’re pressured to celebrate seems pretty shady.

And to think that companies make you feel like you need to buy their product as a gift, even if you can’t afford it. Imagine a kid who wants a PlayStation 5, but their parents can’t afford it. They go to school after the holidays and hear how other kids got the PlayStation for Christmas, but not them. Don’t you think that would create negative emotions in kids?

I know I got jealous when I didn’t get a gift I wanted in grade school.

It’s because movies and advertisements built this scenario of having our ideal Christmas into our heads. However, when it doesn’t turn out like we expected, we get (understandably) upset.

And yet, according to society, if you’re not giving back and celebrating with loved ones, you’re not doing it right. Don’t get me wrong, I think that spending time with friends and family while giving back is amazing. It just looks different for everyone, and yet the media makes it seem like there’s only one right way.

And that touches on another point: Why the heck is this the “season of giving?” Shouldn’t that be a constant? I don’t want to make it seem like people who only give back to their communities and loved ones during Christmas are bad; however, it has become so inherently tied to the holidays that people feel like this is the only time to do it.

I also think that it creates unnecessary stress for people. Running around, trying to plan for the “perfect holiday” just causes more anxiety. Feeling pressured to do everything “right” is exactly what these corporations want because it means that you’ll buy their products. Again, not to get into the nitty-gritty, but it almost seems like corporations want this kind of discourse around the holidays to line their pockets.

This all goes back to the way it’s portrayed. It’s commercialized to a point where I think that the reality does not match up with the idea. And, this isn’t meant to dig into people who celebrate the holidays. If you enjoy the season and festive attitude, more power to you. This is only meant to bring awareness to the fact that this ideal holiday season just isn’t everything it’s made out to be. All I want for Christmas is for you to know that.

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