Don’t give into a consumerism Christmas, spend time with family and friends

November 08, 2016

Jasmine Nelson

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     It’s coming: plastic lawn reindeer, the deforestation of pine trees and lying to children everywhere about a large, old man who brings children a video game wrapped in red paper.

     It’s that time of year again, and being the natural-born Grinch that I am, I’m here to ruin Christmas culture for everyone.

     What is Christmas all about in the U.S.? Money.

     This subject seems untimely, as we haven’t even encountered any rotting pumpkins on our neighbors’ porches yet, but unfortunately the Christmas season already started.

     It perfectly encapsulates the materialism of American Christmas, all wrapped up into one day-long holiday spending frenzy: millions of shoppers setting out to buy obligatory gifts for others.

     Walmart, whose U.S. CEO Greg Foran announced almost 1 billion transactions during the last holiday season, annually presents its Christmas section before Halloween passes, an overbearing yet standard Christmas procedure for stores all over the country.

     Black Friday, the impending first official day of the Christmas season and fi rst heavy day of Christmas marketing, is looming toward us like a dark cloud of terror.

     The Washington Post reported 151 million shoppers last Black Friday and each shopper spent almost $300.

     While you’re less likely to be trampled shopping online than participating in the Black Friday frenzy, you are more likely to end up scrounging for change to buy anything else the next day.

     Americans spend $465 billion on Christmas gifts each year, according to ABC news, and many retailers hire seasonal workers just to keep up with the Christmas demand.

     Black Friday and Christmas decorations in October are deliberate appeals to the urge that Americans have, to reach for their wallets and pull out a credit card.

     It is fun to decorate, and many of us feel a strong sense of childhood nostalgia when we see a little Charlie Brown Christmas tree in a shop window, but these feelings were forced upon us by a market that plays off of warm and well-meaning emotions.

     The spirit of Christmas isn’t found in front of a new TV or in a gift box full of new clothes (that you probably don’t have room for in your closet).

     The meaning of Christmas isn’t exemplified by a one-quote-fits-all greeting card or in your annual weight-gain from excessive amounts of holiday food.

     The Christmas tradition of over-spending, overeating and overdecorating begins too early and is taken too far.

     Christmas is not about cool stuff that no one needs and it’s not about fl ashy, energy-draining decorations that ultimately have no cultural significance.

     Christmas is taking a breath after taking—and hopefully passing—five final exams, and going home to your friends or family.

     It’s nervously introducing your family to someone who is special to you.

     It’s burning the sugar cookies for the second time in a row, using a cardboard box as a makeshift sleigh and rediscovering your love for an old board game.

     It’s volunteering at a soup kitchen with a friend and making sure you don’t know of anyone who will be alone for the holidays.

     Christmas is about giving, and to give meaningfully, you shouldn’t need to shell out $1,000 in what could be going to your textbooks next semester.

     Instead of buying this season, make memories with your friends and family.