By Marisa Ransdell,
It’s early December, and as you’re walking through the mall, Christmas music is blaring out from every store, as if carolers are inching up behind you as you walk. The Christmas season has officially started.
But what does that phrase mean, “the Christmas season”? It means that Halloween and Thanksgiving have ended, and stores are getting ready to market Christmas items to you.
“Christmas is one of the most recognized holidays in the U.S, which is why I think it’s more about the gifts and less about the actual holiday,” sophomore Ariel Wallace said.
According to the National Retail Federation, the U.S spent $206 billion during the winter holiday season last year.
“When I was a kid the whole church aspect always came second to the opening of presents,” junior Jake Yelle said. “Even my mom, who is very religious, also celebrates Christmas in a more commercialized way.”
“When people think of Christmas, they think of a big fat man in a red suit.” Yelle said.
Santa Claus has become an American folk icon, and has been turned into a master manipulator.
Corporations use him to advertise to consumers. Parents use him to trick their children into behaving. Even the cheerful song “Santa Claus is Coming to Town” states, “He knows when you’ve been bad or good, so be good for goodness sake.”
For many children, that is all Christmas is: being good for Santa so that they can cash in on presents. Parents rely on that, and corporations rely on them. One could argue that it’s all just another economic game at play.
“I think that the idea of Santa Claus does take away from the spiritual aspects of Christmas,” senior Sean Pendergrass said. “Parents are taking their kids to the mall to meet Santa, and are completely ignoring the nativity scene across the hall.”
Despite the heavy commercialization of the holiday, many people still find ways to celebrate the religious aspect of Christmas.
“It’s a time for family, it’s a time for friends, but it’s also a day for me to appreciate my savior.” Pendergrass said. There are church services on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day that the public is welcome to attend.
“Christmas services are odd because people who don’t normally go to church show up.” Pendergrass said, “It’s an observance that even though it has become commercialized, many people are still recognizing the spiritual aspects.”
Even though commercial America has sugarcoated the holiday, its meaning has not yet left the hearts of countless people.
“I think Christmas, even if you’re not recognizing the spiritual aspects, is about giving,” Pendergrass said. “It’s about the people, not the boxes wrapped in wrapping paper.”