A Commercialized Christmas

Ryan Ash, Staff Writer

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The holiday season was once a time of family values. Thanksgiving and Christmas used to be about getting together with family, eating some warm food and just having a good time with each other. Today, large corporations have successfully monetized this entire portion of the year, coaxing consumers into buying things they don’t really need.

It all starts on Thanksgiving Day. Many families meet at one person’s house, visit with each other for a bit, eat a big lunch or dinner and then shop. Black Friday sales used to actually start the day after Thanksgiving, but in recent years, companies have been pushing sales further and further forward, hoping to edge out their competitors.

Not only does this encourage people to spend less time with their family, it also forces workers at these stores to miss large sections of Thanksgiving Day.

This sale madness now continues all the way through the Monday after Thanksgiving, where online retailers offer deals during the newly coined Cyber Monday.

Thanksgiving is not the only holiday that has been corrupted by corporate greed. Although not as much shopping happens on its observance, Christmas is exploited to its fullest extent by many companies.

If one walks into any major retailer, they’ll find scores of Christmas merchandise. Even if many don’t fall as easily for Christmas sales and accouterments, there are still many built-in costs to the holiday which allow companies to make out like bandits.

Some include Christmas trees, lights and ornaments, external house lights and the big one: presents for all of your friends and family.

According to Investopedia, over 50 percent of consumers expected to spend more than $500 on Christmas gives during the 2018 holiday season. It is now commonplace for some to expect gifts from the majority of their family and many of their friends as well.

According to Statista, in 2013 alone, the U.S. retail industry generated over $3 trillion during the holiday season, which accounted for 19.2 percent of the total sales of that year. With sales like that, it’s obvious that the holidays have become a gold mine for retailers.

Despite the allure of possible “savings,” American consumers need to collectively reject this holiday materialism. Getting back to the core ideals of these holidays will make these festive times more substantive for all.

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