“It’s the most wonderful time of the year” filled with mile-long wish lists, holiday-themed commercials boasting “amazing” deals, and once the holidays have commenced, to ring in the new year, a weight watcher’s subscription, a couple hundred in debt, and a tinge of regret. However this vicious cycle repeats itself every year and it seems as if we have yet to learn from our mistakes, venturing even further down the rabbit-hole, away from what the holidays are really supposed to be centered around.
The holiday season no doubt is helpful to businesses everywhere, as seen in the profit spikes across the board. The U.S. Census Bureau revealed that businesses expenditure rose from $20.8 billion to $31.9 billion from November to December. However, Christmas seems to be the biggest culprit of commercialization out of all the winter holidays. The center of this problem is the myth, the man in the red suit: Santa. Santa brings excitement and a fun fantastical aspect that other religious holidays just do not seem to possess, ie. North Pole, elves, reindeer, the whole nine-yards. This whole “story’ makes it excessively easy to make products to market as well.
Movies of this season are most likely centered Christmas, as opposed to Hanukah, and this too could be chalked up to producers taking advantage of the popularity of the story surrounding Santa.
Along with that comes the other factors that pour into Christmas like Christmas cards, trees, lights and decorations, which have become a tradition of the holiday and season.
All of the aforementioned products have become traditions associated with the Christmas holiday, making it easy for businesses to profit off of Christmas. According to The Economist, Americans are planning to spend a total of $704.18 on gifts this holiday season, but that does not include spending on other expenses like, $96.75 on food and drinks, $46.73 on decorations for the average person and the average Christmas tree costing $42.
The sheer amount of money spent on Christmas exceeds that of other major winter holidays such as Hanukkah. The reason for this discrepancy is due to the supplemental spending those who celebrate Christmas are forced or feel compelled to spend on, as mentioned before, cards, Christmas tree, decorations, lights, etc. as opposed to solely spending on food, travel and gifts like those who celebrate Hanukah.
Although Christmas is the pinnacle of commercialization, the holiday season in general is a major money maker as it promotes shopping, gifts and essentially spending money, evident in the notorious “Black Friday” swarm of people at the malls and rush to satisfy loved ones wish lists.
Although the holiday season nowadays seems overly consumed with presents and gifts, the season, no doubt would not be the same without it, as giving gifts to loved ones (as well as receiving) adds excitement and joy not seen in the other months of the year. Surrounded by all these gifts and materials people can become too fixated on that aspect, and forget what the holidays are really about; spending time with loved ones, so just remember that this holiday season.