For many people, one of the best times of the year is the holiday season. Even now, the meals are being planned, the decorations are being brought out and the Christmas lists are being written. At one time in my life, the holiday season meant spending time with my family and simply being filled with holiday spirit. Now, things are so different. Are we even celebrating the holidays anymore? Capitalism, consumerism and materialism seem to be the main focuses of the season, rather than the real, traditional meanings of the holidays.
I became aware of this at a young age, when I started to see just how hectically people act during this season. Take Black Friday, for instance; growing up, it seemed like I was one of the few people who ever knew about it. Not many people were aware that it represented a day of big sales. In the past few years, however, Black Friday has become one of the most anticipated shopping days of the year for people buying gifts. I used to see Black Friday as a great thing, but I’ve now changed my mind, after two experiences: seeing the violence that has occurred during this day in the past couple years, and entering the retail business to work.
It is understandable that Black Friday, in particular, gets hectic and chaotic. However, the fact that people have died on this day is eye-opening. People need to realize that there is no product worth the risk of human life. Black Friday has become representative of the entire holiday season, which has lost meaning because people do not know how to appreciate it. We, as the consumers, have become obsessed with obtaining everything new. We’ve forgotten that the real point of any holiday is to make memories with family members and to enjoy their company.
Retail businesses represent one of the biggest reasons as to why the true meaning of holidays has been tarnished and distorted. This is the time of year when it is easiest for them to take advantage of consumers. Being in the retail business for years now, I’ve seen exactly what is done to make money: what people do not and most likely will never understand is that you are always overpaying. Whether you buy something at a regular marketed price or on sale, you are overpaying either way. That is why Black Friday and similar sale days don’t exist in my mind. The holiday season is just a time of profit for businesses, nothing more.
The idea of a holiday was lost a long time ago. As a child, you see the great food you eat on Thanksgiving and the gifts you wanted from Santa. As you get older, all you can do is try to not fall into the capitalistic traps businesses have set. We need to get these businesses to realize that holidays are so much more important than the products that we consume. We need that mindset in order to bring back the good we once saw in the holiday season.