Opinion: Materialistic Gift Giving Does Not Reflect the Meaning of Christmas

Chen shares his view about consumerism and how it negatively affects the Christmas holiday.

Written by ALBERT CHEN / Published January 6, 2012  

The winter months have passed, along with holidays, festivities, and presents relating to Christmas.

The age-old, holiday tradition of buying gifts for others makes the weeks leading up to Christmas the most profitable days of the year for retailers. Why is it that we spend so much money on presents?

Many would say that gift giving is an integral part of the holidays.  However, the exchange of presents is in no way mandatory for the religious or nonreligious people who celebrate Christmas.

The holidays are a time for bonding with family, but the hassle of buying gifts and the disappointment of not getting a desired present can potentially ruin the holiday spirit.

According to Anthony Russell, a high school history teacher, “The media has blown up the gift giving tradition and makes people who don’t give gifts during Christmas look evil.”

Our society regards holiday greeting cards and letters merely as attachments that should accompany a store bought gift.  It seems that no one is willing to send a greeting card without attaching a gift certificate nowadays.

However, purchasing a present is far too easy and requires little consideration or thought.

It is one thing to buy a present but making one yourself is another.

Junior Pauline Chen says, “My teacher told our class to present a hand-made gift for our Secret Santa activity in order to make our gifts more meaningful.”

The craving for material goods has plunged families into debt and distracted people from the more important traditions of Christmas.

Less time is being spent with family and Christmas is losing its true meaning.  After getting all the toys they want each year, children will begin to see Christmas as an opportunity for new toys rather than a time for family get-togethers.

The holidays are for enjoying time with the company of friends and family, but the practice of giving presents has turned the holidays into an annual gift exchange.


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