BY LILY BAZIS
For many of us, the holidays are a time of giving and spending quality time with family.
For some, the holiday season is all about how much stuff they can possibly fit under the Christmas tree.
Unfortunately, consumerism in the United States and all around the world tends to take over during the holidays.
In recent years, companies and retailers bombard people with emails and promotions in order to get more sales. But even more recently, not just typical retail stores are attempting to sell products to the masses.
According to The Odyssey, “even random coffee houses, gyms, musicians, essentially anyone that can sell anything,” are getting in on the chance to promote their products. This allows them to take advantage of the time of year in which people tend to recklessly shop.
With millennials using technology on a day to day basis, it is becoming much easier for companies to reach a specific demographic that will be the most interested in buying its products.
With increasing consumerism going on throughout the world during major holidays like Christmas and Hanukkah, people are forgetting the reason why they are celebrating in the first place.
The holidays should not be about who buys the most expensive presents, or whose house has the brightest lights and best Christmas decorations. The holidays are about love and giving, and spending time with friends and family.
Exchanging gifts should not be frowned upon, but also should not be the focus of the season. People need to be weary of their actions, and be careful not to turn the holidays into an excuse to be materialistic.
Black Friday especially escalates the average American’s need to spend and find the best deal.
It is a totally made up holiday, and depicts just how greedy people can be when it comes to material items. Some people will stop at nothing just to snatch up a PlayStation on sale.
Huffington Post sums up the reasoning for the holiday pretty well, saying “it targets our perspective and reinforces a sense of material wealth. We want things and that somehow turns into we need things, and getting these things (and on sale, no less!) will bring us great happiness.”
This need to spend, especially around the holidays, is capable of bringing out the worst in people. Actual physical fights break out in stores like Target and Walmart, places that tend to have the best deals.
This time of year is the season of giving, with the holidays representing love, community and selflessness.
But why does it cost so much to celebrate? Why does it take material items and presents to bring happiness to so many? Christmas has been completely changed because of consumer culture and the need to fit the new norm of Christmas.
Even music and movies aide in holiday consumerism. Before Thanksgiving, artists start releasing Christmas albums. Many movies with holiday themes are released. Everything is centered on building up the anticipation of the holiday season.
According to ABC News, the average American will spend about $700 on gifts this holiday season. This is absurd considering how many people are currently living in the United States, and what that money could be used for instead.
It is obvious that our Christmas of consumerism is not going anywhere anytime soon. With technology continuing to advance, consumerism will only increase in the coming years.
Companies will find new and more intelligent ways to broadcast advertisements to the public, always tempting people to buy more.
Hopefully soon, people will begin to realize what the holidays really mean to them, and ditch the notion that the holidays equal gifts.
Presents and money will never equal happiness. While these things can provide temporary excitement, at the end of the day it is close friends and family that should really mean the most.