Christmas clash

December 16, 2019

Christmas materialism creates stress, pushes people apart

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.

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Christmas gives opportunity to share joy with loved ones

The lights on the Christmas tree work to illuminate the area with a quiet, soft glow. The living room is full of family, telling jokes and exchanging smiles over the gentle hum of Christmas music. The scent of sugar fills the space, drifting from the kitchen oven and swirling through the air.

Christmas has brought joy to people of all ages for generations, through fatty and unhealthy foods, over-the-top seasonal music and movies, and, most of all, spending time with loved ones. Though receiving a gift is great, the season is in no way solely about the materialistic; it is about the fact that we could always use a little more joy and love, and Christmas is a way to spread some happiness and to make the world seem a little bit warmer.

Everything is more beautiful during Christmastime. All the trees in downtown Fort Collins are adorned with sparkling white lights, houses are coated with color, and trees stand in nearly every home. The season makes even a drive through town more magical.

Additionally, Christmas gives families and friends a reason to enjoy one another’s company. According to globenewswire.com, 4 in 5 people spend Christmas with their families. Christmas is a great way to bring people together to celebrate and be joyful.

Biology teacher and self-titled “Christmas enthusiast” Tamara Osborn always spends the holidays with her family and loves to be in their company.

“I like to get the family together when we get everybody home,” she said. “We play a lot of board games, and everybody spends time together. You get to eat things that you would not ordinarily eat the rest of the year that are not healthy at all with an excuse together.”

Most importantly, Christmas creates a little extra joy and kindness that everyone could benefit from. Even such a small thing as wishing someone a “happy holidays” or a “merry Christmas” is spreading the hope of happiness and merriness in the lives of others.

“Around Christmas time people are just generally kinder to each other,” Osborn said. “The weather usually makes people focus inwardly rather than outwardly.”

The holiday is not just about giving and receiving presents; it is about so much more: the beauty of amplified love from even strangers, the beauty of the world covered in lights, even the beauty of cheesy Christmas tunes. Even without the allure of presents, Christmas widely spreads joy and cheer.

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