The Commercialization of Christmas

Alexandra Martschenko, Staff Writer

Walk into any big chain store between Black Friday and Christmas and the descent of a beloved holiday into commercialism will be dreadfully evident. With ads portraying the idea that the more expensive the gift the deeper the love, Christmas has become nothing more than an overly advertised money trap which is impossible to escape. It didn’t always used to be like this. Christmas began as a Christian holiday used to celebrate the birth of Christ and emphasize familial bonds and love for those around you. Around the 1920s, the idea of Santa Claus became popularized through none other than Coca Cola ads which showed the jolly gift giver drinking a Coke and urging the general population to show their love for their families through the refreshing taste of their product. From then on the idea of Christmas as a money trap blossomed into what it is today and the ‘invention’ of Black Friday in the 1960s only expedited the process. 

From Christmas trees to wrapping paper to elaborate gifts, Christmas has become a competition between family members to determine who loves who more and how to outdo one another. Christmas shopping is beginning to push earlier and earlier into the year and with a never ending demand for bigger and better gifts, stores such as Best Buy and Sears can jack up their prices with the smug knowledge that people will never stop buying. So what can be done to stop this trend away from a Christian holiday into a sugared up money spending extravaganza? Absolutely nothing.

After talking to some Oakton students it became evident that this concept is not seen as an issue to all people. Senior Bhadra Nair stated “For me Christmas culture includes all of the music and tinsel and candy and spending money.” This trend towards forgetting or replacing the original meaning of Christmas with our learned meaning is one that children of this generation are intimately familiar with. Generation Z grew up with Santa Claus as their Christmas idol and most current students are in love with the concept of giving and receiving gifts and not so much with the Christmas that their parents or grandparents may have grown up with. While it is likely that this trend will continue, it could be beneficial to be aware of the power that the newfound Christmas spirit has over our minds and over our wallets.