Are The Holidays Too Commercialized?

Porter Stracke '20, Staff Writer

As soon as November 1st hits, it appears that the memories of Halloween are lost, and our screens and minds alike are bombarded with celebrations for the holidays. Radio stations start playing Christmas music, festive lights go up, and stores start advertising for the shopping frenzy that is Black Friday. Yet, it seems that throughout all of this hysteria, we often forget the true meaning of these holidays that we commercialize. The focus on religion, family, and gratitude are lost behind the glimmer of presents and shopping bargains, sometimes barely being addressed at all. 

Growing up, I remember flipping through catalogs and circling almost every single toy to put on my Christmas list. Back then, I had no idea of the value of a dollar or how advertising and shopping worked. At the time, I simply believed in the magic and tradition that was Christmas. Santa Claus brought my brothers and me the toys, and together, my family opened them and celebrated the holiday for the whole day. 

Customers scramble to get the best deals on Black Friday. Courtesy of CNBC.

However, I believe that this childlike obsession with presents during the holidays has somehow translated into adult life and has corrupted what the holidays are all about. Commercials and shopping sprees are not focused on celebrating togetherness or certain religious traditions; rather, they glorify the biggest deal that you can find and how much you can spend. Black Friday is a representation of this craze, as we see people literally fighting over gifts. This completely undermines all the values we had celebrated the day before – on Thanksgiving –  forgetting the themes of gratitude and community simply for the best deals. Instead of connecting the holidays to friends and family, we link them to the shopping and sales that we are overwhelmed with. 

Volunteering is a great way to give back to your communities during the holidays. Courtesy of Hill Country News.

We should not celebrate the holidays as I used to as a child, with the sole intention of exchanging gifts. While it may be easy to get caught up in this excitement manufactured by the influence of the media, it can easily turn into greed and materialism. We must remember that the holidays are a time to remember the blessings in our lives and be grateful for that. It should not be a time when we pine for more and more, but instead a chance to step away from that materialism and focus on bonding with those who we love and giving back to our communities. In a world where so many cannot afford the large, extravagant holidays we praise, we should focus on what we already have and try our best to help those less fortunate. The memories that we will remember are not the price tags or the presents we got, but the traditions and time we spent with those we care for. As cheesy as it sounds, it rings true that the best things in life are free.