The Xmas list

| Staff Columnist
When my grandparents asked me to write a Christmas list this year, I couldn’t help feeling demanding and selfish as I tried to compose a list. I felt bad ordering gifts, and I began reflecting on the materialistic implications associated with the Xmas List. The problem is that parents become slaves to the Xmas List. Shoppers stampede malls, following the List like blind sheep.

The entire List tradition is just a bad idea invented as an excuse to simplify Christmas shopping for busy parents. Sure, the List can make things easier, but when taken too far it only serves to spoil children and encourage demanding attitudes. Because the Xmas List eliminates the need to consider heartfelt gift ideas, the focus of Christmas shifts from sentimental to superficial.

In this way, the List represents a wider social issue: the increasing commercialization of Christmas. It seems like every year stores start bringing out Christmas merchandise earlier, with some stores setting up as early as October. Why the need to stretch this holiday into a three-month shopping spree? The answer lies in the increasingly gift-oriented focus of Christmas, which is only perpetuated by the List.

This materialistic focus can be attributed to a growing desensitization of the American public. The infamous American commodity culture now extends even to what is supposed to be one of the purest family traditions. The humble origins of Christmas are tainted by the wrinkled foreheads of shoppers desperately searching to fulfill the demanding expectations of their children, with the emphasis on buying rather than spending time with loved ones.

Widespread public acceptance of the commercialized Christmas says a lot about America’s values. We can’t blame this on corporations, because the corporatized Christmas is supported and encouraged by consumers’ wallets. If society accepts the commercialized Christmas, why shouldn’t businesses exploit it? Now, Christmas has mutated into a corrupt Xmas, another greeting card holiday designed for companies to profit off of the supposedly humble holiday.

Not to say that Christmas should be strictly a religious celebration. Like Thanksgiving, Christmas has evolved into an American tradition based on family values. Christmastime is an excuse to gather with family, have parties and see friends. However, these intentions fade into the background when the List obsession overwhelms the top of everyone’s priorities. The reigning commodity fetish is especially problematic this season, considering the economic state of the country.

It is important to question the image of the American culture that our commercialized holiday fosters. It certainly does not depict a united, freedom-loving people. Rather, our corrupt version of Xmas symbolizes desensitization and materialism, which is further emphasized by reliance on the List. This year, try to keep in mind the family values that are too often replaced by commodity obsessions.

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