The Yuletide season is drawing closer, as stores begin displaying decorations and Christmas music makes its seasonal debut on the radio. Some would say that the holiday spirit is in the air, but what is truly being celebrated? Is it a time of giving and charity, or a testament to our nation’s consumerism and emphasis on material possessions? As our earlier posts pointed out, advertising and marketing campaigns equate holidays to buying products and spending money. This deflects from the real meaning of the season of giving, and even excludes some less recognized holidays. These corporations need to realize that the holidays retain different meanings to different groups of people.
Most people tend to categorize the month of December as the month of Christmas. Often times, the mainstream audiences overlook other holidays such as Hanukkah and Kwanzaa. This could result from the lack of media attention given to these holidays. Currently, the greeting card industry offers cards celebrating these events, but that is about as far as it goes. The attention is almost always directed towards Christmas. This could be because Christmas is more marketable, thus turning a larger profit for companies. In the end, a company’s main goal is to earn a profit, no matter what it takes.
These corporate practices are not exclusive to Christmas. Other holidays display the same profit-minded trend as well. With the creation of Black Friday, Thanksgiving has become less about giving thanks, and more about marking the beginning of the shopping season. Valentine’s Day and Mother’s Day are synonymous with showing someone how much you care about them by purchasing a gift for them. Halloween advertises costumes and candy. Almost every holiday has some kind of themed product linked to it (clothing, party supplies, decorations, etc.), all in the name of profit. It could be argued that society has become so wrapped up in consumerism and receiving gifts, that the true meaning of holidays can become lost in the translation. In the corporate sense, holidays are about generating income and creating innovative new products. So who is really experiencing “Happy Holidays” around this time? Is it the corporations gaining substantial revenue, or is it the consumers providing the revenue?
Sarah McIntosh, Eliza Wadson, Jocelyn Walson, Sean O’Connell