Consumerism
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Christmas in a consumerism age

This holiday season has got me thinking more about the conscious buying for the festive gifting.

And I am not going to spend your moment of read convincing to go vegan, recycle all your gift wrappers and hand make all your gifts – we all know not everyone is able to jump on that train right away.

Instead, let me start with this: we often hear the phrase “I used to like Christmas as a child but now it just feels so plain”  – I have to completely agree with that statement and also explain my side of it.

Consumerism: festive buying season

There is nothing festive about being forced into the mindset of purchasing as many presents as possible for your loved ones just because you feel “obliged”. It will most likely be an overpriced one billionth of a hand cream that will end up at the bottom of a drawer but hey, at least it smells like cookies and has Santa printed on it?

This “madness” that’s been spreading across the streets since November like a virus of “soulless shopping” under the explanation of “festive buying season” has just started to calm down a bit which got me thinking – “Are people not able to stop and think for themselves when shopping for gifts?”

How did we miss the red flag of guilt-tripping us into the Christmas shopping infatuation and decorating our trees as early as November, without actually paying attention to the origin of the holiday, therefore resulting in a money-making-santa-infused-craze?

The act of choosing a gift can be either a great experience or could be the worst moment of your holiday if you don’t actually know what to get that person, ESPECIALLY if you’re on a tight budget (and many people are currently due to the prices spearing up like bamboo shoots and items running out of stock within the blink of an eye). I don’t know about you, but I would much rather prefer to spend my hard-earned money on a trip or a new experience rather than an expensive gift that might not actually suit the person.

So can’t our society just focus on the spiritual and family-oriented part of the holiday rather than drowning in alcohol under a Christmas/New Years* tree in a sequin dress amongst hundreds of gifts that only some of might be useful? Apparently, this kind of thinking makes me look like the Grinch.

Personally, I still can’t process the winter holidays from the past three years of my life and in a weeks time year 2022 is already coming up. A year of tiger might I add, so hopefully my year (born in 1998) will actually be positive and lucky for me.

Straining away from the holiday blind-shopping, I also wanted to point out the generally accepted notion of “everyone loves the winter holidays and if you don’t celebrate it or you celebrate it in a different way or a different date – there’s something wrong with you”.

If the UK is trying to accommodate every culture that it hosts on the island, how about we also pay attention to other cultures? For example the Slavic holidays which don’t start until December 31 or Eid that happens twice a year in the opposing seasons? I consider myself very lucky that I will be getting a day off work on both Catholic and Orthodox christmases as well as the New Year celebration, however, I know that some of my slavic friends just celebrate the European standard – on December 25th.

Consumerism

When conversing with the Brits, they had also voiced their frustrations with the holiday’s new modern look overtaking the society each winter season. It becomes suffocating and not holiday-spirited at all when jingle bells and santa are shoved down your throat so aggressively.

I want my piece of writing to aid my readers in remembering the origin of the holiday and why it was a vital part in the wheel of year. Be that this year or some food for thought for next year, I hope this read has been useful to you in some way.

*Orthodox uses the term “New Years tree” because we first celebrate New Years Eve, and then, Christmas on January 7th.

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