Opinion: Christmas for business?

With the holiday season here and Christmas on the way, have people forgotten the true meaning of the holiday?


Bailey Musnicki

Christmas is a time for holiday joy and giving. Though with changing times and attitudes, have corporations taken over the spirit of Christmas?

Jared Bysiek, Features Editor

The Christmas season is a time for friends, family, and appreciation. It’s also a time for the stress of feeling pressured to buy presents for loved ones. As the holiday approaches, many people may feel obligated to get presents for others, and with this obligation and stress continues during the season, people may begin to wonder: what has happened to the true meaning of Christmas? Christmas has seemingly transformed from the time to give to others and spend time with family/friends to a time for people to consume and receive as much as possible. 

During December, people seem to talk about presents and only presents. Kids write letters to Santa telling them what they want, while teens discuss what they want their parents to get them (or even things they are telling their parents to get them). The holiday has subconsciously become a time for us to receive all the cool things we have wanted. And even though people may want a lot of things for Christmas, people are still just as eager to reject the items they did not ask for. According to an article on Green Groundswell, roughly two-thirds of holiday-shoppers will return at least one gift they received on Christmas that they did not want. While someone took the time to get a gift for an individual, they may not even accept it, which goes against the idea of what the true meaning of Christmas tends to be.

All these presents have to come from somewhere, and that is where shopping comes in. According to the 2017-article on Green Groundswell, 14 percent of the number of people who acquired credit card debt during Christmas shopping in 2016 was still paying it off. Not only that, but Consumers in the United States were expected to pay around $682 billion during the Christmas shopping season. And with events like Black Friday and various other discounted-days that encourage people to buy early for the holidays, around 32 million people were planning to go shopping on Thanksgiving day. These numbers provide the idea of how grand shopping becomes specifically for Christmas, and even how detrimental it can be on people’s bank accounts. For a time that is supposed to be spent being with friends and family, and giving back to them in little ways, it seems that a lot of that time is instead spent buying grand gifts for those who want it.

While it may be seen that we are very present-heavy during the holidays, this does not mean the humble idea of what Christmas means is lost on everyone. While someone may be spending a lot of their time shopping around trying to buy cool gifts for the people they know, it still shows that they are taking the time to think about those around them. When Christmas comes around, it is almost always spent with friends and family. Despite admitting that gifts are the first thing that comes to mind, Colton Rasnake, a senior at West Campus, stated: “Christmas has always meant that I am going to see family, have good food and really just get a chance to enjoy myself.” So while gifts are always an important factor for many, this does not mean the idea of being together with those you know and love is lost, either.

In the end, while people may initially say and believe Christmas is about love and giving, deep down it has transformed into a time to receive as much as they can.  “You can ask most people and they will say that it is about love and giving,” Rasnake said, “but in reality, a lot of people out there just want to get free cool stuff from their family or friends.” However, that does not meet this is how it always is, or how it must be. 

If someone wants to be a positive influence this Christmas season, they should take the time to be more humble. Maybe that wishlist does not have to be so big, maybe they could keep that ugly sweater grandma made to show appreciation, or maybe even give back to the community by helping those in need. It is important to remember how people wish to define this season, as a time of love/appreciation and giving back to those around.