Christmas commercialization meets pressure of gift giving

Shannon Tierney, Editor-in-chief

Do you remember composing your Christmas list as a child and sending it off to Santa Claus? Do you remember how it felt to eagerly await the morning where you would hope to find that new bike or chemistry set you dreamt about for months?

For some people that childhood feeling captures genuine Christmas spirit and is the reason so many people look forward to the holiday season each year.

But many feel those childhood memories have been lost within all of the commercialism that now comes along with the holiday season.

According to the National Retail Federation, the average American will spend $700 on gifts and goodies this year, totaling an estimated $465 billion.

According to ABC news, if all of that was spent on American made products in would create 4.6 million jobs, and others feel that the money spent on gifts could feed the world.

Christmas is the time of year when many people go all out in purchasing the perfect gifts for their loved ones, but these gifts may be becoming the main focus and eclipsing what the holiday is truly about.

For a lot of people Christmas is a spiritual holiday meant to celebrate something more than just presents. It is viewed as one of the most important days in history to many Christians.

“Christmas is not about presents; it’s not about friends. It’s about Jesus and spending time with your family. I go to church to celebrate the birth of Jesus. I think everything else is looked over because of the presents,” Kiziah Cameron, senior, said.

For many the presents given during Christmas are what is looked forward to the most even though the holiday is meant to be a time for family and friends.

“Giving and receiving is a nice gesture, but Christmas is more about making memories and cherishing the times you have with your friends and family. It’s the little things that really count,” Megan Mogorovic, senior, said.

“I think it’s good to an extent, but at the same time I believe that Christmas should be more about the family and coming together,” Christina Velazquez, sophomore, said.

Additionally, some people view gift giving during the holidays as a sort of pressure.

“Many people expect to be given gifts and some expect more of bigger presents than a person can buy,” Katherine Kinch, sophmore, said.

There are some people who would rather limit gift giving; or take it away all together.

According to British newspaper The Telegraph, 46 percent of 10,000 people said that gift giving should be limited to immediate family, and 30 percent said it should be banned all together from everyone but children.

Gift giving may have an unseen dark side that is looked over by most. People might expect to always recieve something in return.

“Many people who give expect something in return or have another wrong motive behind it. I think it’s important to ask yourself if the reason you give gifts to help people or make them happy, or just to help yourself,” Sarah Vazquez, senior, said.

Others may not see gift giving as a huge pressure, but it is still a distraction.

“There’s not an increased pressure, but with advertising being so in-your-face, it makes you feel like you need to buy gifts,” Audrey Nelson, senior, said.

For others, gift-giving should be seen as only second to time spent with family.

“I feel the amount spent with your family is more valuable than the gifts because when you send time together it shows how much you love and appreciate them,” Kyle Gockman, freshman, said.

The commericalization and the pressure of gift giving connect for some who see the advertising that happens during Christmas as a prompt to buy fancy gifts.

“A lot of things that people want nowadays are really expensive and even though I don’t have a job, I still feel obligated to buy the people who are important to be nice things because of all the ads,” Lara Ayala, senior, said.

All around the commercialization of Christmas is viewed differently by different people, but there does come a point when people may focus more on the gift giving aspect rather than the importance of being with loved ones.

“Christmas is about reconnecting with family, sharing stories, and catching up. Presents aren’t a bad thing, but you shouldn’t be materialistic with your presents,” Melanie Wendhausen, senior, said.