Is It Okay That Christmas Is All About Materialism?
Is It Okay That Christmas Is All About Materialism? by Michael Snyder – End of the American Dream
How would you feel about Christmas if there were absolutely no gifts at all? That may sound like a very strange question, but I think that it is a very important one, because the truth is that our biggest holiday of the year by far is all about materialism. According to ABC News, the average American will shell out $700 for Christmas presents in 2018, and the National Retail Federation is projecting that total Christmas spending will surpass $465,000,000,000. Only 25 countrieson the entire planet have a GDP that is greater than that number. Ultimately, Christmas is defined by what we give and what we get, but is that actually healthy?
When I was growing up, my siblings and I couldn’t wait for Christmas to arrive, and honestly it was all about the presents. We spent endless hours looking over the toy catalogs, we made long lists of stuff that we wanted, and we impatiently counted down the days as we waited for the 25th to arrive.
Would we have felt the same way if there had been no gifts at all?
Of course not.
And today the “holiday season” lasts longer than ever. As an excellent Psychology Today article noted, Christmas ads now begin “as soon as Halloween is done”…
The ads now start as soon as Halloween is done. Shiny cars with huge bows on top (what’s the surcharge on those bows, I wonder?), do-everything-for-you screens portrayed to make a person’s dreams come true, toy after toy after toy tied in to the latest blockbuster movie. Any kid who consumes even the tiniest amount of media is bombarded with the message that the Winter holidays, especially Christmas, involve stuff, stuff and more stuff. That getting material goods equals warmth and love. That the “magic” of Christmas comes from what lies underneath that wrapping paper.
This year, my wife actually saw Christmas trees for sale in a major retailer beforeHalloween.
And why are Christmas trees greatly cherished by millions upon millions of Americans?
It is because of the presents that we put underneath them. If you take away the presents, would Christmas trees have the same appeal?
And the same thing is true for Santa.
What would Santa be without Christmas presents? In the end, he would just be a creepy old guy in a red suit climbing down our chimneys in the middle of the night.
Needless to say, this orgy of materialism can put a lot of financial stress on American families, and one recent survey discovered that nearly half the country feels pressured “to spend more than they’d like on holiday gifts”…
According to a recent survey from the personal-finance website Bankrate, almost half of Americans feel pressured to spend more than they’d like to on holiday gifts, with parents especially likely to feel put upon. When presented with a slew of options that might lessen their financial stress, respondents were most willing to entertain the idea of giving gifts only to their immediate family or of seeking out coupons and sales—64 percent and 57 percent, respectively, said those courses of action would be acceptable. Those surveyed rated other alternatives—giving homemade gifts, regifting, or buying things secondhand—as much less enticing. At the very bottom of the list was skipping gifts entirely, which received a tepid 13 percent approval rating.
That last sentence made me chuckle. Even if it means going very deep into credit card debt, most Americans simply hate the idea of “giving up Christmas”.
But isn’t Christmas actually supposed to have some sort of religious meaning?