The Nightmare Before Christmas

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The Nightmare Before Christmas

Many feel that American consumerism is killing the holiday spirit.

Many feel that American consumerism is killing the holiday spirit.

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Many feel that American consumerism is killing the holiday spirit.

Go Social

Go Social

Many feel that American consumerism is killing the holiday spirit.

Lucas Jansen, Staff Writer

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The holidays are considered one of the most important times of the year for many friends and family, as they are a time to express gratitude towards those you love. Or, at least, they used to be. 

Over the past decades, concern over the holidays’ true meaning has started to grow alongside the growth of consumerism and the stress of the holiday season. The constant craze of holiday shopping and people hoping for gifts has left many crushed under the weight of the holidays and fed up with the expectations that come with it.

However, it wasn’t always like this. Christmas, Hanukkah, and Kwanzaa come from old religious origins with much simpler traditions than the stressful rituals of today’s holidays. Yet over time, they have become the target of consumerization.

“The idea of gift-giving at Christmas time among religious and secular Christian communities got completely blown out of proportion by the business community,” stated Molly Nixon, a bilingual resource specialist. “Consumerism drives this so-called holiday stress. Any holiday in essence revolves around community [and] faith,”

However, presents aren’t the only concern of the holidays. Additional factors can weigh down holiday cheer. 

“The holidays are stressful because of finals,” stated Woodside junior Park Fabian. “To cope, I relax and make sure my grades are up, so I don’t have to worry too much about dropping my grades.”

With all these stressors, one may easily become overwhelmed. Recent studies have shown that holiday stress affects women and lower middle class families especially.

“Women are more likely than men to report that their stress increases during the holidays (44 percent, versus 31 percent of men),” explained the U.S. News’s report on a survey by the American Psychological Association. “Holiday stress has an impact on lower middle income individuals. This group feels the weight of stress from work plus the seasonal rush to find time to get everything done. In addition, their worries about money are heightened by the commercialism of the season and the pressure to spend money.”

Many say that the cause of all of this stress stems from those who are trying their hardest to make the holiday special. This can set unrealistic expectations for families that don’t have the time, patience, or money to celebrate.

“Men and women alike feel an obligation to tend to their family during the holidays,” stated the U.S. News report. “Half of men (49 percent) and women (51 percent) strongly agree that they feel a responsibility to make sure everyone in their family is happy.”

However, while there are glaring problems with current Christmas celebrations, it is still the season of cheer, and many call for a return to those roots. 

“If people want to get rid of holiday stress, they can just save gift-giving only for children,” said Nixon. “Then, they would have a really nice time. Many Christian families are doing this more and more. Non-Christians must look at Christian families and say, ‘Poor things! They just don’t GET it!’”

But until the expectations change, we will have to do what we can to enjoy Christmas for what it is. At the end of the day, the holidays are a time of cheer and gratitude.

“Holidays are stressful only if you make them stressful!” stated Laura Perdikomatis, the Physical Education Department Chairperson and a Woodside teacher. “I love the holiday season because it is a time to be with family, to take a break from ‘real life,’ and to celebrate whatever it is you celebrate… If doing that is stressful, it probably isn’t sincere. When I feel stressed by the holidays, I take a step back and simplify.”