Day 2 of 12 Days of Articles: Christmas Commercialism

When I think Christmas I think of only one thing: presents. And eggnog. And my Nana’s Christmas cookies. But mostly presents. I’m the type of person who goes all out on my Christmas list. We’re talking pictures, sizes, prices, and convenient links as to where to purchase that item. I claim I do that because of my borderline obsessive compulsive disorder, but my family says it’s because I am highly materialistic(which is also true in part).

I could not make my crazy Christmas list this year. Why? My parents would get me anything I wanted for Christmas! As long as it was less than one hundred dollars. They soon learned how “unreasonable” this was and bumped it up to one hundred fifty dollars. Sure, a great improvement, but I was still very sullen about the whole ordeal.

It took me a while to figure out why they set this price limit. At first I thought they were just trying to cheap out of Christmas; however, I recently learned that my parents wanted my siblings and I to learn the real meaning of Christmas.

Christmas is about spending time with family, not about presents. Lexi Yoxall, Woodland Junior, knows the struggle of getting teens to understand that Christmas isn’t all about the presents.

“Christmas focuses a lot on the presents nowadays,” Yoxall states. “People have turned more materialistic.”

In the Catholic tradition, giving gifts on Christmas was to remind people of the gifts given to Jesus by the Three Wise Men(Christmas Presents). These gifts were not always big or symbolic, they were normally just little things to remind people that Christmas is about giving to others.

In this day and age, teens only care about what they are getting for Christmas, which favorite celebrities are endorsing that product, and how much the product costs so that they can hold their heads even higher when bragging on the first day of school. Maybe it’s because I’ve grown more mature, maybe it’s because of learning to listen to my parents(for some crazy reason they actually know what they are talking about), maybe it’s because I know have a job of my own; I learned that Christmas is for giving back to others and your community.

Being the youngest of four children(23,22,21, and 16), I had to grow up much faster than an average person my age. I was constantly dragged all over New England for different sporting events and tournaments. When those ended college visits began. I started worrying about college in fifth grade when my oldest sister started applying. My parents always say that I am the most mature child in my immediate family, but that’s only because over the years my siblings taught me everything I should never do. That same rule applied to this year’s Christmas expectations. When my two sisters flipped about not getting tons of things for Christmas, I realized that the only thing I could do was put myself in my mom’s shoes and think rationally.

My mom says she is always right. I used to always roll my eyes and ignore her when she tried to give me advice. I was not alone in dismissing my mother’s wisdom. My three siblings would always do the same thing: roll their eyes and do whatever they wanted anyways. As a observant person, I noticed a trend–whenever one of my siblings would ignore my mom’s advice and do whatever they wanted, the results were usually pretty bad. Now that I know my mom is pretty accurate with her advice because she has been on the planet much longer than I have. My mom tells me every Christmas that the gifts are only a minor part of the holiday, but somehow it took her setting a price limit to finally realize that what she was saying was true.

In July, I got my very first job. I quickly learned that working is probably my least favorite thing ever, but it is a necessary evil. When I started to make my own money, it became up to me in order to start paying for the non-essential things I needed, such as fancy clothes, and expensive shoes. I am perfectly okay with being able to take some of the stress off of my parents(they did buy me everything for sixteen years). I also really enjoy the satisfaction of knowing that I worked hard for the clothes I wear. I often splurge and buy myself lots of things, so I don’t really need to make my parents do the same thing for me on Christmas. If I don’t get something for Christmas, then i can always buy it for myself.

I, along with most students at Woodland, am very lucky. I have a roof to live under, a bed to curl up in at night, hot meals, and parents who love me. Christmas is the time to celebrate those things that so many Americans take for granted. The Odyssey article, “Christmas Isn’t About the Presents, It Is the Present,” states,

Among these wonderful feelings, we forget to give thanks, and appreciate all that we have.” One American who does not take this holiday time for granted is Camille Terrell, a junior at Woodland.

“On Christmas Day we [her family] all forget about the stress it held and just spend time with each other eating, watching movies, singing,” says Terrell.

This year, I am going to spend my Christmas Day being happy to spend time with my family, and I encourage you to do the same.