Our obsession with consumerism may just be ruining our holidays, and I think we need to learn to make the holidays much less consumeristic than it they have become.
The holiday season, at its core, is about giving and receiving love. It’s not about giving others the best gift, or buying the most expensive sweater for your significant other. It’s about making sure that they know they are loved, which is something we seem to forget all too suddenly in our society during the holidays.
When you think about how much focus we put on the consumerism in holidays, it’s easy to see how our national values have changed. To put it bluntly, too many of us are too focused on getting too much stuff.
I’m not saying that giving gifts is inherently bad. What I am trying to say is that sometimes we, as a society, and especially at our age, focus so much on the materialistic aspect of gifts that we forget why we are giving them or why we are receiving them.
This obsession, though, is not necessarily something that consumers should solely take the blame for. Every year, during the holidays, we are bombarded by advertisements promising happiness, satisfaction, and love from items that we don’t need or potentially even want. Every time we turn on the television, flip through a magazine, or turn our phones on, our brains are subconsciously cataloging these advertisements, planting the idea that religious and national holidays are about shopping or gifting meaningless items that you didn’t put any though or consideration into. Advertisers are manipulating our subconscious to force us into a desire for increased consumerism at this time of year.
Thanks to lack of consumer control and advertiser manipulation, Christmas and Hanukah have become a focus on gifts and lights, not religious meanings and events.
Thanks to our societal views on holidays and spending, Thanksgiving has become more of a celebration for Black Friday than a celebration of gratitude.
Has stuff has become a substitute for real relationships, connections, self-esteem and time spent with our loved ones?
I honestly hope that stuff hasn’t replaced human relationships like I am afraid it has begun to, something that becomes increasingly more evident every spending season.
If we learn to focus on the people in our lives, and find ways to express our love that aren’t blind, hysterical consumerism, I think we can turn this trend around. If we can learn to express gratitude and love through meaningful, loving gifts as an alternative to meaningless but plentiful presents, consumerism may once again take a backseat to the true meaning of the holidays.
Regardelss of how much change we institute, I may still be afraid that sometimes the meanings of holidays in our society will get lost behind the paper and the ribbons.