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The Christmas season is drowning in consumerism

Hilary Legge, ‘Doah Staff Writer
November 20, 2013

'Doah photo courtesy of wikimedia commons

‘Doah photo courtesy of wikimedia commons

Every year the Christmas season creeps more and more into Thanksgiving. However, this year it seems to have leapfrogged the holiday all together and begun immediately following the close of Halloween.

The Hallmark Channel, which has become known for its made-for-TV movies started airing said Christmas movies on Nov. 1 as part of their “Countdown to Christmas” programming. Many radio stations have started playing Christmas music. Some limit themselves to only the weekends, while others have already shifted completely into being a Christmas music station. Stores started putting out Christmas decorations before Halloween was even over. Here on the S.U. campus, lights were put up on the trees in late October.

Now, I’m someone who loves Christmas and all the cheesy movies and music that go along with it, but I can’t keep up that level of holiday cheer for two months — I have a life to lead! I’ve generally accepted that Christmas begins on Black Friday and goes on for a month. I never minded that because I enjoy the holiday season. It’s nice to see places decorated and lit up when it would otherwise look cold and dead. But, continuing to extend its length diminishes the value of it all. Not only has the holiday season jumped past Black Friday, but Black Friday itself is losing all meaning as the day for the best deals is becoming Thanksgiving.

As someone who spent years working retail this is incredibly upsetting. Retail stores continue to force their employees to come in earlier and earlier on Thanksgiving Day, making it so they can’t have any kind of enjoyable holiday with their families. If you think retail employees have any kind of say in whether or not they’re working this holiday, you are sadly mistaken. Many places you are not allowed to request off during this time.

What all of this really comes down to is consumerism. The push is coming from companies looking to make more money. By putting out Christmas decorations and starting sales earlier people will ultimately end up shopping more. Capitalism is king in this country and we all know we can’t truly be happy unless we have a lot of stuff.

So, forget spending Thanksgiving being thankful/miserable having dinner with your family. You have to go wait in line to get that big screen TV on sale, and retail workers have to go to work even earlier in order to sell it to you.

There are some people fighting back against the tide. Many people have stated that they will not shop on Thanksgiving Day, and some refuse to do so even on Black Friday. In some areas, workers at places like Walmart are even planning to strike. If you’re thinking about going out on Thanksgiving Day to shop, maybe stop and take a moment to think of what doing so means. It contributes to a growing culture that values things over people. And, before you delve into the Christmas and shopping madness, try to stop and enjoy the moment you’re in right now.

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