Don’t let consumerism influence your holiday spirit

By Kelsey Nevius
@kelnevs

I’m one of those people that loves the holidays. So, when November rolls around, I might not be happy about the weather, but I am happy that all things Christmas (colors, decorations, desserts, the works) become commonplace. Even in mid-November with Thanksgiving coming up first on our holiday agenda, all you see is Christmas stuff. And honestly, it never bothered me. I’m always excited to see those first families stringing lights across their houses and hearing that first Christmas song on the radio. It means either a lot of snow or a lot of cold is coming our way, yes, but I’ve always viewed holidays as a time that I get to spend with my family. Besides, I like to go all-out with my holidays: get a real tree, spend time decking both the tree and my house out with lights, baking cookies and food that’s terrible for you, the whole nine yards.

So when I was walking around a store with my mom the other day, and a Christmas song came on over the loudspeakers of said store, I instantly threw my head skyward and freaked out because it was one of the first songs of the holiday that I’ve heard. When I noticed my mom wasn’t celebrating in the Christmas-y spirit like I was, I was not surprised. This was typical behavior for her; after all, I was the one who wanted the live tree and the strings of lights everywhere every year. Confused, I asked her why she hated Christmas so much. “I don’t know. It’s not about love or family any more, it’s about commercial stuff. Just businesses trying to sell everything,” she said. I stopped for a moment, thinking, but then resumed in my usual fashion by called her a Christmas hater.

But really, that got me thinking. Is Christmas even about the holidays anymore, or is it about big box stores trying to sell us things that we don’t need because it’s Christmas? Why do we even buy so much stuff for Christmas, stuff that we don’t need and probably will never use, just because it’s Christmas? According to the American Research Group, shoppers spent an average of $861 for gifts in the 2014 holiday season. That’s a crazy amount of money when you take into account that a majority really will spend that much on family members alone. Though I love to give and receive Christmas gifts as much as the next person, I’d like to think that all this money we’re spending could be used for something better. To me, it’s just a big distraction from the holiday, taking time away from actually spending time with your family to opening gifts and then playing around with whatever you got.

I know that I’m probably in the minority that likes Christmas music and festivities in mid-November, but I can’t help it. I’d like to think that, instead of some big event to grab a lot of money from consumers that it probably is, that Christmas is still what it was when I was younger. I still picture Christmas as driving around neighborhoods looking at Christmas lights with my friends and family, of picking the biggest and fullest Christmas tree, and going to my grandparents’ house to eat good food with my family. The innocent concept of Christmas is something I hope to keep with me, because getting excited over one silly song I hear on the radio is innocence that a lot of people don’t have. So, if you get anything out of this (besides the fact that I’m basically a child when it comes to Christmas), I hope it’s that you should take time to enjoy the holidays instead of dreading them. Even if your family consists of Christmas haters like mine, spend the holidays with whoever you call family and eventually, they’ll even like the holidays a little too.

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