Another over-marketed holiday

Businesses commercialize Christmas spirit

The average person doesn’t ponder Christmas’s meaning when the holiday season rolls around. Instead, most people only see the side of Christmas shown to them in glamorized advertisements, pristinely decorated department stores, and the dream of a mountain of presents waiting to be opened on Christmas Day. Despite the sentimental meaning of Christmas being depicted as a time to celebrate peace and family and the religious view that “Jesus is the reason for the season,” the most common interpretation that has monopolized the season is that it’s all about what you buy and for whom it was purchased.
“That’s what it’s all about, isn’t it? That’s what it’s always been about! Gifts!” says the Grinch in the 2000 movie adaptation of “How the Grinch Stole Christmas,” making the point that a cloud of commercialism consumes the Christmas we know.
The commercialization of Christmas is a concept that has been introduced previously.
“The first period was the 1840s when Christmas entered the northeast, and its big cultural centers like New York and Boston, as a commercially tied holiday aimed at children,” states an article for
Although the commercial aspect of Christmas began with children, it has rapidly expanded to target everyone. It is not uncommon to see an ad on television for tools for dad, jewelry for mom, and even silly Christmas-themed toys and clothes for pets.
Along with increased Christmas advertisements that prompt consumers to buy more, commercialization is painted clearly to the public through the season’s early start. Many stores begin selling Christmas decorations before Halloween is even over, extending the financial season of gain for companies by giving consumers more time to spend and increasing the amount they buy.
Christmas itself continues to stray further away from its religious roots towards commercialization with the help of advertisements and the large corporations pushing them. Buying and receiving presents is fun, plain and simple. It is human nature to want to continue and expand the tradition of gift-giving because it brings a slight sense of joy; however, it is no doubt that businesses continue to push the necessity of it for economic gain.
The Export-Import Bank of the United States stated that department stores made over $22 million in retail sales in 2016 and that “Holiday retail spending has been growing by at least 3 percent per year for the past five years and accounts for 20 percent of all annual domestic retail sales.”
In addition to this, they write that “Over 550 U.S. businesses produced toys for the season, enabling over 6,000 American jobs.”
From this perspective, commercialization expanded due to the benefits that both companies and employees reap. When companies persuade consumers to buy more, jobs for Americans increase, companies collect their money, and the economy consequently sees a period of prosperity.
While the economic benefits seem reason enough for some to continue over-commercializing Christmas, there are victims of commercialization as well. Impoverished families who cannot afford to spend money on lavish gifts—or even a simple toy for their children—-have to exist in a world where a new measure of affection for a loved one is what material item you give them.
It is no doubt that Christmas has grown to become a commercial affair, and it should be acknowledged that there are benefits that derive directly from it. Still, as the holiday draws near, it is essential to remember that Christmas goes more profound than its commercial surface, and it should continue to be seen as a celebration of peace in a conflict-torn world.