Have the Holidays Become too Commercialized?

The “holiday season” started very early this year. It began, some may say, too early – with some businesses advertising sales as early as October. It seems as though Christmas comes earlier and earlier each year. This phenomenon, is often called “the Christmas creep.” It is just one example of the increasing commercialization of the holidays.

An integral part of the holidays is the exchange of presents to one’s friends and family. This is part of what gives meaning to the holidays – the act of giving brings people together, creating a general atmosphere of warmth and joy.

There’s nothing wrong with the custom per se; however, many criticize that the gift giving piece of this tradition has become incredibly too commercialized. Seeing as presents have to be purchased, retailers take advantage and compete against each other to grab the attention of consumers, often with flashing signs and big numbers with percent signs after them, luring customers in with the promise of savings and great steals.

The purpose of gift-giving is to show affection and appreciation. The problem with this, however, is that we increasingly put price tags on the sentiment of exchanging presents, and as we do so, we degrade the value of the spirit of the season. There is no need for excessive spending to convey our sentiments. Unfortunately, this ideas is lost as individuals scramble to buy gifts in a haze. The meaningful idea that “it’s the thought that counts” has faded away in the background, leaving us with little contemplation as to why we give in the first place.

Christmas means something more than the billions of dollars spent on holiday-related merchandise each year. Whether we’re running out there for last-minute gifts, or wrapping up Christmas presents, we should keep in mind that money isn’t everything. Some of the most priceless things in life can’t be bought in a store at a discount, but it can be found at home with family and friends.