Christmas and Consumerism

by OLIVIA DEGEN

As Christmas approaches, people across the globe are looking for gifts for their friends and families. Giving these gifts to loved ones once held meaning, as Christmas once represented the importance of giving and being with family. Today, Christmas has become competitive. Who can give the best gifts? What will everyone receive? Ultimately, Christmas has evolved into a commercial holiday.

Stores begin selling Christmas items ridiculously early. Year after year, it seems that Christmas is being mentioned earlier and earlier. This is because of the desires of the consumer, as well as those of the businesses which are selling them. According to the National Retail Federation, or the NRF, the average shopper will spend almost six hundred dollars in preparation for the holiday season. Because consumers are willing to spend a relatively large sum of money for decorations as well as gifts, companies try to prolong the Christmas season as much as possible and appeal to consumers in order to make the most money possible. This is a prime example of mass consumerism.

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Companies keep the insecurities of the consumer in mind while creating advertisements for their products. Many people are unsure if their gifts will be liked by the person they’re giving them to. This is why companies heavily promote their more expensive product, and say that receivers of these gifts will appreciate them more. For example, in a new print advertisement  by Forevermark diamond store, lines such as “Marry Me Sounds So Much Better Than Just Merry Christmas” were pictured surrounding photographs of their diamond rings. Consumers should not be pressured into buying things they can’t afford or don’t really want to give. Not only are advertisements targeting adults, but they are targeting children as well. Commercials featuring new toys entice children to ask adults for these overly advertised toys, and some parents may feel inferior if they are unable to buy these new or popular products for their children. This is a direct result of the conceived notion that material items now determine a person’s happiness during Christmas. In reality, fulfillment can be found by being with loved ones, regardless of what gaudy decorations are found in their house or what fancy gifts they receive.