Is Capitalism Turning Holidays into Money Makers?

SAN JOSE, CALIFORNIA >> Many people are concerned that capitalism has turned holidays into moneymakers. Most national American holidays have a big emphasis on exchanging material things. The reasoning often used is that buying gifts “shows people you care about them”. This can be true, but a large emphasis on materialistic exchanges during holiday has numerous downsides. Instead of giving gifts willingly many people feel obligated to do so. The holiday season often brings stress. It also puts much more pressure on low income families.

Big corporations make most holidays all about buying materials.  This persuades people that this is only an option to show appreciation to other people. Large corporations take advantage of holidays as a way to make money and many people buy into it.  For example on Black Friday makes Christmas into something that’s more about getting a good deal on a gift than showing appreciation to people you care about.  “I usually spend $2000 to buy gifts, goodies, and decorations during holidays especially Christmas” says Hanh Nguyen.  People who can’t afford gifts feel left out and stressed about spending money on holidays.  “In addition, 51 percent of women and 42 percent of men said purchasing and giving gifts added to their distress” says Juli Fraga.

For many holidays bring more stress than cheer. “I became sad and frustrated about how the entire holiday is focused on buying things and the stress that causes in people’s lives. The pressure to get the right gifts for our loved ones felt wrong. I don’t believe love should be expressed through buying material things.” says Demone Carter, Director of Community Engagement for Sacred Heart Community Service when asked about christmas. Pressure to buy gifts during the holidays affects poor people disproportionately. “Lower middle income people in the United States feel a financial crunch around the holidays. The struggle to afford and to purchase material goods is particularly acute for this group. Lower middle income individuals feel the pressure of commercialism and hype during the holidays, as well as the financial worries of being able to afford the holidays without running up credit card debt.”

Some other ways that people can celebrate holidays are making holiday dinners, or something that you won’t need to spend much money on. Such as, gathering up for a thanksgiving dinner with the people we’re most grateful for. Gisele Diaz says “I feel like it is nice to get someone a gift or gifts every once in a while, but, it shouldn’t be all about money, mainly cherishing time together and being happy with spending time with the people around you.” Even though Christmas is all about the gifts, it can rather be to spend time with your close family and friends. Chad Broughton said, “This Black Friday, Patagonia and Yerdle will “celebrate the stuff we already have” in a day of sharing and trading instead of buying”. This can make people aware of what we can do/ use to make something from scratch, either if we have to cook a dinner, or reuse things to make gifts. Although holidays can get crazy, we can cherish holidays with our closest friends and family.