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Merry Materialism

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Merry Materialism

Makayla Walders, Opinion Editor

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Holiday traditions have been carried out for years, but they seem to have lost their meaning over time. In modern society, people tend to focus on what can benefit them from a certain holiday, as opposed to celebrating it.

Gift-giving during the holiday season originates from the story of the birth of Jesus. The New Testament tells of three wise men who presented the newborn Jesus with valuable gifts to display their utmost respect and honor towards him. The custom of Christmas presents as we know them today dates back to the late 18th century and early 19th century.

It was intended to give family and friends a tangible way to express their love and appreciation towards one another, just as the wise men had done for Jesus. However, since then, it has grown into a corporate driven, pagan holiday tradition that revolves around the price tag on the gift, not the emotion put into it.

Giving their money to these companies, they slowly build the materialistic culture that has been wrapped up into the season.”

Holiday commercials for companies such as Target, Walmart, Amazon, and more begin the day after Halloween, if not before. They depict happy-go-lucky children playing with the biggest and best toys, women smiling brightly with new diamond earrings from their significant other, or men walking out of the house to find a brand new truck in the driveway topped off with a big red bow.

These tactics urge the viewer to think, “My child would be so happy unwrapping that toy,” or “My wife would love to receive those earrings on Christmas morning.” This desire for the consumer to make their loved ones happy is good-natured, but leaves them vulnerable to the bait of corporations’ Christmas promotions and products.

They are influenced into thinking that “things” will give their family and friends the best holiday ever. Giving their money to these companies, they slowly build the materialistic culture that has been wrapped up into the season.

It results in a cycle of retailers manipulating customers, and Christmas, to gain profit- something more twisted than the stripes on a candy cane.

With each generation, children are growing to become more entitled, and are led to believe that love is displayed with a dollar sign. A society with a desire for possessions is the consequence of this retail-driven, gift giving cycle; the catalyst is Christmas.

The holidays themselves are a large economic stimulus to countries around the world, particularly the United States.

Over 3 trillion dollars is generated by the country’s retail industry during the holiday months of November and December- primarily in gifts, whether they are for Christmas, Hanukkah, or Kwanza.

It results in a cycle of retailers manipulating customers, and Christmas, to gain profit- something more twisted than the stripes on a candy cane.”

This makes up for an average of roughly 20% of all retail companies’ total income for the year. Some even reaching up to 40%. The holidays for these big companies don’t mean family, friends, and love; they mean money, money, and more money.

It is with great hope that those celebrating the holidays coming up can find happiness with the company of family and friends rather than an overpriced gift under the tree.

The true meaning behind the holiday season is not found on a price tag, but rather within things and feelings that are intangible. However this has diminished as we have fallen into this corporation-fueled cycle. We mean well- we hope to make those we love smile, we want to make the holidays memorable, but not the retailers. All they want for Christmas is your money.

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About the Writer
Makayla Walders, Staff Writer

Makayla is a senior at SJHHS and this is her first year writing for The Express as Editorial Editor! She is involved in Link Crew, Younglife club, and...

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