Take back the holidays for family; don’t shop ’till you drop

December 21, 2017


Coca Cola

This is an example of the Christmas Coca Cola advertisement that was released in 1931. The slogan on the ad says “Give and and take say I,” which is a good metaphor for the consumerism and buying that goes on during the holiday season, especially in the United States.

Don’t get me wrong, I LOVE Christmas. I’m that girl who turns up “All I Want For Christmas Is You” by Mariah Carey, puts up the Christmas tree, and roasts chestnuts over an open fire as soon as Halloween is over. I’m even sitting here right now listening to Christmas music as I write this article. However, I do believe that the holiday season (which for me includes Thanksgiving and Christmas) has lost its meaning. We are so focused on buying and looking for the best deals, when we could be with family focusing on the joy of the holidays. I believe that the meaning of the holiday season is to spend time with the people that matter the most to you.

What always confuses me is the fact that people leave their homes on Thanksgiving night at 5 o’clock to converge at a mall to get the best deals they can get. It’s unsafe; according to the website Black Friday Death Count there have been 10 deaths and 111 injuries due to Black Friday shopping since 2006. The day is an offspring of chaos and madness! I cringe just thinking about it. Another issue is that Black Friday deals now start on Thanksgiving night, meaning that many people have to leave their families to go to work.

Christmas has also become very commercialized. What used to be a holiday centered around joy and being together has been morphed into a holiday about shopping and spending money. The National Retail Federation estimates that the average American spends about $700 during the holiday season, which I believe is too much. We spend so much money for our loved ones, but we get too wrapped up in the commercialization of the season to spend time with them!

According to the article “Christmas: The Holiday of Cultural Consumerism” by Russia Robinson, the shift to the commercialized Christmas we know today began in 1847 when Macy’s department store began to showcase Christmas gifts in store-front windows. Macy’s profited so much from this that other stores started to follow suit, trying to make even more elaborate displays.

Santa Claus’s popularity grew when a Coca Cola advertisement came out in 1931 which featured the man himself drinking a bottle of coke, next to the slogan “give and take I say.” The sales of Coca Cola increased because the advertisement heavily marketed to consumers. In the advertisement, Santa is featured with a suit of white and red, which are Coca Cola’s theme colors. Because of this, these are now the colors of his commonly known suit.

So what should the holiday season really mean for others? Sophomore Mari Daniel-Myers explains that for her it’s a time to be “helpful towards others and [is about] spending time with the ones you enjoy being around.” Sophomore Rasheed Shaka explained that it’s about, “being in the spirit for whatever the holiday means.”

For my family, Christmas and the holiday season means spending time together. Every year we put up a Christmas tree at both my mom’s house and my grandparents’. On Christmas Eve night, the extended family comes over to my grandparents’ to celebrate. We have our yearly oyster stew for dinner, and then later my grandparents, mom, uncle, and brother open up pjs that we wear when we wake up on Christmas Day to open presents. The aspects that I most enjoy are being with family, listening to Christmas music, and finding meaningful presents for the people I love.

In order to take back the “true” meaning of the holiday season you should recognize the gifts you are receiving whether you like them or not, and try to see the thought put into them. Everyday you should just think about what you are grateful for and take a look at the bigger picture.

Have you persevered through something difficult this year? Be grateful for getting through that. You should make a choice of whether to participate in the consumerism aspect of the holiday or not, and own your choice. Another good option is to spread the love: instead of just going out and buying for yourself or others, volunteer! As Daniel-Meyers said, “just really think and be thoughtful about what you are doing.”

In my experience, I usually feel more in the “holiday spirit” when I focus on the joy of the holidays instead of the amount I buy for people and the price of the presents. I believe in getting something for my loved ones that means something to them as opposed to buying a present just for the sake of spending money. The holiday season represents coming together, enjoying time together, setting aside differences, and having fun with the people you care about.

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