Sean Ray | Student Columnist
In the Halloween mood, I headed out a few weeks ago to buy some candy corn. However, what I found was much more horrifying than any ghoul or monster: candy canes on sale a full two months before Christmas.
It seems like Christmas comes earlier and earlier every year. Christmas candy lines the shelves, stores advertise their Christmas sales and decorations are put up weeks in advance. This is not a good thing.
It is ironic that a holiday about giving has been taken over by greed. Every year, companies push for more and more Christmas shopping, not patient enough to wait for Black Friday. The Christmas shopping season now seems to start on Thanksgiving itself, forcing many to come in on work over the holiday and spend time away from their families.
I’m sure everyone has experienced a time when they got called into a job for an unfortunate time. Missing a friend’s birthday, a family get together, or other such unfortunate instances. Now, imagine being dragged away from a holiday you should normally have off, just because some company wants to make their boat loads of money sooner than later.
However, there is an even darker side to this practice; it can easily be seen as offensive to people who celebrate other holidays. I imagine Jewish people aren’t terribly excited to see Christmas deals showing up in stores months in advanced, while Hanukkah is glossed over completely. Kwanzaa barely gets any mention on the news or in stores. All because neither of these two holidays have been commercialized by the business community.
Not only is this an injustice to other holidays, it’s a disservice to Christmas itself. Everything about Christmas has become buy, buy, buy, spend, spend and spend. Buy a Christmas tree, buy ornaments to put on the tree, buy gifts, buy wrapping paper, buy decorations to put up, the amount of things people are expected to buy is ridiculous, frankly. Corporations have taken over Christmas. Heck, the modern day image of Santa Clause was partially inspired by a Coca-Cola ad from the 1930s.
Unfortunately, this take over by corporations is due to kindness. American parents love nothing more than to see their kids jump for joy as they get their favorite toy on Christmas day. No one wants to make their kid unhappy, at least for any decent parent. The problem is that this makes the holiday all about the presents, not about the charity and spirit of giving it is meant to embolden.
Action needs to be taken to prevent corporations from totally controlling the Christmas season, for the sake of future generations. The celebration of Christ’s birth needs to stop being about the gifts. While it might be disappointing, set aside some of your gift money to give to charity. Children should understand this holiday is for those less fortunate more than themselves. Seeing people give money, large amounts of money, ingrains an idea in their head of how to celebrate the holiday.
Furthermore, establish some Christmas traditions that have nothing to do with spending money. Some of my favorite Christmas memories come not from the gifts, but from a holiday tradition my family does. We drive around the neighborhood on Christmas Eve and see all of the decorations our neighbors have put up. While this might not work for everyone, my home neighborhood took their Christmas decorations pretty seriously; a tradition like that can be very important in turning the Christmas War against companies.
Finally, try not to buy gifts from large corporations so often. They are the ones who push for people to work on Thanksgiving, for the holiday season to start earlier, and the ones who practically take over the airwaves with Christmas ads. Buy something from a Mom and Pop shop, or make a gift yourself. It is the thought that should count the most, not the receipt. It’s fine if someone asks for a specific gift, but if you are given a blank check, think of something creative and meaningful to that person rather than getting something typical.
It is time Christmas went back to its roots and stopped taking over other holidays. No more will the season of giving and good will towards men be owned by corporations who want nothing more than to consume more and more money. No longer should this holiday been parodied and mocked for the what it’s become, but instead become the embodiment of what it is supposed to mean: the celebration of the man who gave the ultimate gift to the world completely unselfishly.