Must it be the 12 Days of ‘One Day Only’ sales?

Posted December 17, 2013 / Last updated December 17, 2013

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From The Blue Jay, Vol. 86, No. 3, December 2013

By Kevin Credo

Getting a little excited for Christmas is pretty easy for all of us.

For years, the classic American family has always cherished the time spent with loved ones, the memories that will be remembered for years to come, and the notion that an obese old man descends upon every household with unnatural levels of precision and finesse.

Today, however, those long-standing traditions seem more imperiled than ever by the overwhelming commercialization.

Granted, people likely have complained about the commercial aspects of Christmas ever since Mary may have tried to exchange one of those gifts of the Magi. (Myrrh? Who gives a newborn baby myrhh?) Nevertheless, I feel like the “Christmas Spirit” is something that’s being manufactured these days just so that people will spend more and more money. Despite the contemporary approach to Christmas, Jesus was not born while chugging a bucket of Mountain Dew and binge-watching episodes of Breaking Bad with the Blu-Ray player on his PS4.

Now, of course, who doesn’t like getting presents? It’s something everyone enjoys, but I feel like the sentiment behind the gift-giving has now been over-marketed. It’s now an exploitation of the human emotion of “I need to buy $700 in electronics because a snowman on TV told me to do so.”

If we leave our financial decisions up to a hunk of modeling clay representing an adamant blob of snow, is it any wonder that many of us turn even crazier?

Need evidence? Just look at Black Friday. Black Friday urgently needed to start by 4 p.m. on Thanksgiving, reminding us of the days when Squanto taught the pilgrims how to survive the long winter’s night lined up outside Wal-Mart. When the fights in the stores are bloodier than the Call of Duty games they are being waged over, you know that some weird bells are getting jingled.

Granted, I don’t think that buying a few things over the holidays is something that enslaves us to a chain of rampant consumerism bent on sucking out our individuality.

Admittedly, lots of things are much cheaper when we buy them during the holidays. If it’s something we were probably going to buy anyway, it’s a smart move to buy it now. In addition, few of us have the attention span to make our own gifts (that aren’t more abominable than that snowman). Buying a couple of things to make us happy doesn’t automatically sell our soul to Santa, who rides off with it in a dark chariot pulled by flaming reindeer.

The key to enjoying the holidays is a sense of balance. If you lose the balance in one direction, you end up with a cold, pessimistic view of Christmas. If toppled to the opposite side, you become a prisoner of Xbox One and busted college funds.

Christmas shopping is something that we can enjoy, but it can easily be taken too far. It’s an important and pretty essential component of the holiday season (not to mention the national economy), but we need to keep it in perspective. If we lose ourselves in empty consumerism, we become blind to the main purpose of the holiday: becoming closer to the newborn King, who will give us more happiness than anything found on the store shelves.