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MATERIALISM MINDSET

Gift shopping detracts from meaning of holiday season


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As the month of December progresses and we delve deeper into the holiday season, people begin the arduous task of seasonal shopping. While the “giving season” may have started with noble intent, the lines between buying things to show gratitude for another person, and buying something because of the amazing holiday sale, have become blurred.

Each year, the holiday season, accredited with bringing people together, seems to only further separate people.

On Thanksgiving, a number of Americans exited the festivities early to wait in long lines and fervently shop the sales.

As the weekend continues, an estimated 174 million American consumers shop the Black Friday and Cyber Monday deals. As the time  encroaching Christmas progresses, even more deals are advertised in an attempt to capture the attention of last minute holiday shoppers.

On Super Saturday, the last full Saturday of shopping before Christmas Eve, approximately 155.7 million people shop for last minute Christmas items.

If the holiday season is supposedly a time for togetherness, then why are consumers willing to spend so much time shopping rather than engaging in family interaction?

Moreover, holiday materialism builds a complex around the idea that we must buy for and receive material objects from each other in order to achieve maximum happiness. There’s no denying the satisfaction that comes from opening a long awaited gift, or watching the look on someone else’s face when they receive an item they really wanted.

However, when the newness of these presents wear off, all anyone is left with are meaningless items that only beg the question of whether or not to ask for something similar next year.

The holiday season is marketed as being a time for giving, but that original intent has strayed so far from it’s origin, that now the word “buying” is all anyone associates with giving.

None of this means that anyone needs to swear off all holiday shopping and resort to handmade macaroni necklaces, but there are alternatives to fueling the trend of holiday materialism.

In 2015, the average American spent roughly 882 dollars on Christmas gifts for family and loved ones. Revenue drawn in from Super Saturday alone approximates nearly 42 billion dollars.

Rather than spending this obscene amount of money on items that can be haphazardly carted to the side as soon as they go out of style, what if people set a lower budget for holiday gifts and saved this excess money for a “rainy day” or even family outings. If we continue on this meaningless trend of buying things to make each other happy, then it takes the value out of the true spirit of the holidays.

Though it may seem a bit cliche, isn’t this time of year an occasion to celebrate each other’s presence rather than gifting each other with material objects?

There’s a fundamental flaw in human nature if the only way we can possibly express our gratitude and appreciation for one another is by purchasing lavish and expensive gifts.

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