Christmas has always been a time to relax, appreciate the company of others, and partake in the joyous spirit of the season. In recent years, however, the mass commercialization of the holidays has made room for our society to turn Christmas into a materially-driven time of year.
In fact, according to Investopedia.com, it is estimated that shoppers will personally spend about $920 on gifts alone this year. This increased focus on spending and gifts each year has taken the focus of the holidays from family, thankfulness, and cheer, and turned into something of greed and a desire for tangible objects to feel satisfied or loved.
Advertisers use many tactics, according to forbes.com, one of the most popular seeming to be an appeal to consumer happiness. Marketers create fun-filled and exciting advertisements during this season to appeal to the emotions of eager buyers. When we see something that makes us happy, we are more inclined to buy it, which only perpetuates the idea that we need to be getting and giving tangible gifts to be satisfied or feel loved.
Such ideas are the foundation for the exhaustion and low feelings almost expected with gift giving. As Christmas becomes more materialistic each year, the worry about getting the right gift or not budgeting properly has become the forefront of the holiday. If someone receives a gift they are not completely satisfied with, it is normalized for them to display how unthankful they are. This, in turn, can make the person who bought that gift feel sad or even guilty for “messing up.” This sort of behavior is not only detrimental to the mental health and well-being of people, but it also pushes people apart. This is the exact opposite of what the holidays are meant to be.
We must come to recognize how toxic these feelings have made the holiday season, tacking on unnecessary stress and anxiety to a time when we should be focused on cherishing our time and happiness with those close to us.