How Capitalism Stole Christmas

By Amanda Eldreth

Elm Staff Writer

With the variety of opposing views on holidays and what they symbolize, sometimes I feel overwhelmed and lost as to whether or not I should celebrate them. There’s the aspect of religion on which many of the holidays were founded, the concern of offending other religions, and now, the commercialization.

Even before Halloween has passed, stores begin selling Christmas décor and offering deals on gifts. It seems as though the celebration for Christmas has gone from 25 days to two months. Of course, this is the fault of commercialization and maybe it has become a “capitalist scheme,”,as senior Kristine Beskin, stated.

Even the seasonal music is already invading stores and radios at the start of November. I can’t speak for everyone, but Christmas is celebrated annually as a means to make it more special, and so we can appreciate whatever values we take from the season for that month; so when seasonal music runs for a straight two months before the actual holiday, it gets annoying.

Not only does it become Christmas overload a full month before December, but Thanksgiving is swept under the rug as a holiday. Whether or not it is fair or right, there are values and traditions about Thanksgiving that should be valued over early commercialization of Christmas. Freshman Justine Garrin agrees that “each holiday deserves equal attention.”

It is true that Thanksgiving is taught in schools as a jovial time for Native Americans and the Colonists; which masks the long and bloody history between the two cultures, but over time Thanksgiving has lost much of its original, religious meaning. Now, I feel as though the holiday symbolizes family and generosity and thanks; Kristine Beskin views it as “a more person-oriented holiday than a material one,” and I could not agree more.

With stores shoving Christmas at the public, we can get overwhelmed and stressed and instead of being a time to enjoy, Thanksgiving is a burden that cannot be fully appreciated. One holiday at a time please! Freshman Katie Braune thinks that “all turkeys need to gain more respect for all the hard work they do sitting on the table looking yummy. Christmas is forever away and so overly commercialized it makes me sick.”

I have no doubt that Thanksgiving has also become commercialized as far as grocery stores go; they push the customary foods and the butchering of turkeys. And though I appreciate the values that are associated with the holiday, I can’t help but feel a little sick myself at the number of turkeys that are slaughtered each year for the holiday.

Of course, I recognize that there are some out there that are not as well off as others and cannot afford a lavish feast. But, the thing that is often over looked is the increase in volunteers and soup kitchens around Thanksgiving. I think helping out at a soup kitchen, especially around Thanksgiving, embodies the true values that the holiday season represents , and it’s a shame that capitalism takes those values and violently dances all over them like an angry, domineering T-Rex.

In all seriousness, I don’t need stores added to the already confusing holiday scenes. I suppose commercialization is hard to avoid in our current society, but what’s the point in continuing to celebrate them if we don’t get the chance to appreciate the more personal values? Is it worth all the money and time to buy happiness in material ways? Is there even a way to rewind back to when the values were more important? Something tells me no, but, on a personal level, I’m sure as hell going to try.

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