Consumerism and Christmas

It is quite sad that the holiday season, once known to be a joyous time to celebrate family and get together with friends, has now turned into a season of excessive and unnecessary spending. We have to buy so many things we don’t really need like decorations, holiday cards, new festive clothes. As a result, all of these make us present ourselves to society in ways we wouldn’t normally do.

As evidenced in this image, the lady is no longer content with the prospect of celebrating with whoever “you” refers to, whether it be her boyfriend, husband, or family. Instead, she understands that Christmas is a time of getting, rather than giving. She desires diamonds, a material possession which she believes will give her happiness, albeit a temporary one. Thus, the lady has false needs. Again this goes along with Marcuse’s ideas that capitalist consumerism is destructive to the system and gives people a false sense of consciousness and the belief that they are leading the “good life”. Christmas should be a time to be free from the constraints of capitalism and relax, and not a time to feed into the system.

For holidays like Christmas and Valentine’s Day, should people advocate a “no presents” rule altogether? Can you think of examples where we can escape from this consumerist Christmas culture?

 

 

 

 

 

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3 thoughts on “Consumerism and Christmas

  1. I love your comment: Christmas is a time of getting instead of giving. I think that line in itself captures the idea that Christmas is a time of false needs. We love the song “All I Want For Christmas Is You”- popularized by Mariah Carey and while this song is playing in the background of your favorite department store, you are struggling with what to buy everyone for Christmas.
    My mom is SUPER religious, so sometimes she gets really angry with the fact that Christmas is a time that is commercial, not religious. If people really celebrated Christmas in a religious manner, we wouldn’t need to give presents. There is a scene in the movie “Four Christmases” where Reese Witherspoon’s mom decides that they are going to give each other “spiritual gifts” for Christmas. I think that’s an extreme, but that is a way that we could give gifts, without spending money.

  2. I completely agree with the previous comment, which is pretty similar to what I was going to say. However, even if families aren’t religious, I find it acceptable to generally celebrate family. My mom is someone who is really all about giving during the holiday season (and basically year round) but she never expects anything in return. But now that my older sister, my cousins and I are all grown up, she constantly struggles with what to buy us. It has taken my aunt numerous of times to explain to her that whether or not she buys presents, our family will always come together for christmas just to celebrate us being together.
    I feel if more people adopted their own meanings for christmas, that essentially counter societies meaning for christmas, it slowly but surely lose its value for being a holiday that strictly revolves around gifts.

    Wishful thinking :]

  3. I really like that you used this image, because it really pinpoints how Christmas is commercialized and commodified into something that we all have to consume. What I really like about this image is that it not only hits the core of commercialism, but that it uses humor. On the surface it seems as if the girl in the picture wants diamonds, but if you think about it closely, she’s “joking” and that she really wants you. But I think that this sort of joking really just hits home on how in the end, people care more about material things than the actual meaning of Christmas, which is a day to celebrate giving to others and making others happy, for the sake of other people. I don’t know if we can ever use a “no presents” rule (other than maybe you get too old for that kind of thing) because we are such a consumerist society, even Target commercials capitalize on the idea of giving away goods.

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