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Holidays should be about family, not consumerism

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Illustration by: Azalie Yanguas | Staff Illustrator

With Christmas around the corner, “shopping season” has begun, and with it the strain of buying everyone and their mother a gift for the holidays.

Every year the media is full of commercials that claim the only way to win the affection of friends and family is with expensive and superfluous gifts. But here’s the thing—no gift, no matter how spectacular, will strengthen a relationship or create memories that will last a lifetime, despite what commercials claim.

Spending time with loved ones is the only way to solidify a relationship and create memorable moments. There’s always the fear during the holidays that one will show up to a get-together and be presented with a gift but have nothing to give in return.

Let’s face it, college kids don’t have a lot of extra cash laying around. Most don’t budget their financial aid so that they have money to spend on Christmas presents at the end of the semester. We should cut each other some slack.

One shouldn’t feel guilty for receiving a present. A gift is meant to be a blessing, not a “you owe me one” to be redeemed later in the future. It is a wonderful thing if a person is willing to give during the holiday season, but no one should give for the sole purpose of receiving in return.

A gift should be given out of selfless generosity, not greed. Traditions are a beautiful thing, and giving little handmade gifts has so much more meaning than clicking the “buy” button on a website.

Perhaps this is a practice that society should turn back to. Making a handmade gift is cheap, easy and holds significance, satiating the desire to give while keeping one’s bank account out of the red.

Mixing friends, family and crafts is a great way to spend the holidays together while avoiding the troubles of buying mountains of gifts. Spending the day decorating for the holidays or making cookies will build memories far better than a gift shipped from Amazon.

As a person grows older, the magic of the holidays seems to wane. People begin to long for things that cannot be bought and wrapped and placed under a tree.

Here’s what I would really like for Christmas—stability, good health, constructive relationships and the ability sleep peacefully without anxiety. If I give you a cute scarf, will you give me one of those? No? Then honestly, don’t get me anything.

Instead, come to my house for dinner and we can give each other the gift of good company. Spending time with friends and family is what really matters, not stressing out for a month and scrambling to get money for presents that will likely remain unused in storage.

The holiday season should not be synonymous with “shopping season.” It should not be a time of material things, but instead dedicated to generosity to others, love of family and time spent with friends.