Cartoon by Audrey Meyer
By Mitch Riportella
It seems every year Christmas rolls around a tad earlier than the last.
It is not uncommon to see a Christmas car commercial with one of those 30-pound red bows before making it to Thanksgiving.
This understandably turns off a lot of people who feel constant marketing ruins the so-called “spirit of Christmas,” but frankly I do not mind having Christmas jammed down my throat. ‘Tis the season after all.
I don’t mean this in a negative way. Christmas is by far the most commercialized holiday, but justifiably so.
According to Statista, a leading statistics portal and website, Americans spent around three trillion dollars during the holidays last year alone.
To put that in perspective, holiday spending made up about 19.3 percent of American retailers’ total sales for 2012.
If retailers know the average American spends a hefty sum a year, why shouldn’t they market their products accordingly when expecting almost a quarter of their business over a two-month period?
But these subjects of consumerism and commercialism only come up around the holidays, and frankly I have had enough of it.
Materialism is not just a Christmas issue—it is just how we do it in America.
We live in a nation that spent more than 310 million dollars on Halloween pet costumes last year, yet some still worry about losing touch with the spirit of Christmas.
What exactly is the spirit of Christmas?
Is it the notion that, for four weeks out of the year, we should make our yearly trip to church and give money to charity?
Why do we only try to be good people during the holidays?
Is having Christmas spirit simply acting like a person who suddenly cares about things outside of their lives for one season of the year?
That does not make sense, and you shouldn’t need an excuse to care for others. I feel like this spirit is an act, and everything we do loses its legitimacy.
We tell ourselves it is better to give than it is to receive only during the holidays, but why?
Does anyone else notice how selfish this implication can be?
Do we really give Christmas gifts out of selflessness? Or, do we give gifts to feel good about ourselves, and to more easily convince ourselves we are good people?
The cultural focus on presents is not preventing our families from having a fulfilling Christmas, so let us as a society quit complaining about it.
Christmas is ultimately what we make of it.
Regardless of whether one makes it about the objects or the emotions, it is an excuse to get the family together and blow all of our money on things we do not truly need.
People should stop making a big deal of how commercialized the season is, because it is not going to change.
So eat a lot of food with your loved ones and play with your new Xbox, because Christmas is just fine the way it is.