A Commercialized Christmas

Marta Johnston, Writer

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It seems as though every year in every children’s Christmas play, people are reminded of the “true meaning” of Christmas. Everyone must constantly be reminded of the fact that the holiday season is not simply one of gift giving and eggnog.

The origin of Christmas is complex, yet now the focus is not on where the holiday came from. The image of Saint Nicholas, who was in reality a generous gift giver, has been adapted to that of the well known Santa Claus. According to the website of the United Methodist Church, Christmas wreaths were once the result of a Roman tradition in which townspeople would give each other tree branches as a gesture of wishes of good health. The branches were then twisted into rings in order to represent eternal life. Wreaths now act only as a decoration during the holiday season, just as Santa is now merely a jolly fictional character bringing bundles of gifts to children who have been good.

The origin of the holiday that once had a meaning of great significance has been forgotten in the work oriented society of today. Now, businesses use the Christmas season as an opportunity to sell ugly sweaters and life-sized nutcrackers. Christmas is less about its meaning and rather about what society has adapted it to be; a time of drinking hot chocolate and hanging stockings above the fireplace. The holiday now is known for the sort of warm and fuzzy feeling that it brings.

Consumer News and Business Channel (CNBC) referred to the holidays as “the season for making money,” proving once again that many businesses focus more on the benefits that Christmas brings them.

Coca-Cola makes clever use of seasonal icons such as Santa Claus and their also well known polar bear. Stores of all kinds become more festive in the addition of miniature christmas trees and holiday cookies to their assortment of goods.

All of these things and more show what our newfound focus of Christmas has become; one of commercialization rather than conviviality.