A consumerist carol: Corporations control holidays


Photo courtesy of Creative Commons

Shoppers mob a Black Friday electronics sale. The aggressive consumption that is promoted by America’s corporations contradicts the values of giving that the holiday season is all about. Focus not on getting a great deal on an expensive gift, but getting your loved ones something meaningful this holiday season.

Zach Thompson , Viewpoint Assistant

The true value and meaning of major holidays such as Christmas and Thanksgiving has been confused with the focus on the “once-in-a-lifetime” deals that are pushed by the corporations of America. We shouldn’t be thankful for discounted electronics; we should be thankful for being happy, healthy, and with our families during the holidays. Overt consumerism overshadows the real spirit of the happiest time of the year.

According to blackfridaydeathcount.com, a blog that compiles all recorded deaths on Black Friday, the American shopping holiday has caused 12 deaths and 117 injuries since 2006. People losing their lives over meaningless material possessions completely contradicts the spirit of the holidays. On television, the internet, and other media, it seems there are advertisements for expensive gifts in every corner. From the car commercials implying the only way to be a good husband is by buying two cars for Christmas to the tech commercials that suggest replacing hot chocolate and a blanket with a thousand-dollar laptop, it seems that the purpose of the holidays has become spending more money than anyone else.

Meaningful and creative gifts shouldn’t be seen as cheap and unimportant. Maybe, instead of buying our mothers new designer purses for Christmas, we should offer to spend some time with them, perhaps by gifting them movie tickets and writing them cards expressing our appreciation. Rather than buying our fathers a new treadmill, we should get a few tickets for the basketball game to spend some time with our parents. While your mom might appreciate the leather bag you forked over a couple hundred dollars for, she would find it much more special if you gave her a meaningful gift that shows her how much you really care about her.

The true value of the holidays and gift giving is spending time with loved ones and showing them how much you care. Regardless of what the commercials and viral videos tell us, we don’t need to spend hundreds of dollars to show consideration for our loved ones. Enjoy the holidays, no matter how much money you have or are willing to spend. Material possessions only last for so long, but the memory of a meaningful gift will last forever.