The holiday of Christmas has succumbed to massive commercialization. Materialism, over-consumption, and globalization in relation to Christmas have become the platforms for negative actions taken up during what was once considered the season of giving. Today, Christmas is now the season of shopping.
People have forgotten the definition of Christmas. Christmas is meant to be a celebration of Christ’s birth. Instead, this day is now more strongly associated with the gifts Santa Claus brings. Christ is not at the forefront of children’s minds as they make their lists and peel back the wrapping paper on Christmas morning. Children are not envisioning Christ in a manager as they dream of receiving IPods, video games, electric cars, and doll houses. Individuals now have a tendency to consider material possessions and physical comfort as more important than spiritual values.
As materialism rises, so does over-consumption. Christmas wish lists no longer contain just a few carefully chosen items. The culture of giving has changed: gift recipients are no longer satisfied by inexpensive or homemade gifts. Now, children’s lists contain dozens of costly items with no sentimental value. They are influenced by the ads they see during the cartoons they watch on Saturday mornings and weekday afternoons. As advertisers adopt the concept of “anything-goes” advertising, it has become acceptable to target young audiences. Such child audiences are unknowingly drawn in to products simply based on the celebrities that indorse them or the promises ads make.
Product producing corporations have become so vastly large that they are enabled to use their position to turn an unethical profit. As major producers become multinational companies, they have access to cheaper labor in foreign countries. With cheaper labor costs, their products can be sold at prices that are lower than the same products distributed by small town stores. In this way, large chain stores are putting smaller competition out of business. Ethical shopping would be purchasing store items made in America, allowing the profits to have local benefits. Yet, it’s just not possible when so few items are produced in America, and those that are are more costly than ones produced in foreign countries.
As Reverend Billy points out in the documentary “What Would Jesus Buy,” the American people are heading down a path that leads to the “shopocalypse.” Commercialization has had devastating, irreparable effects on Christmas. The cycle will continue as long as people continue to put shopping above all else when Christmas comes around. Hopefully, Reverend Billy’s messages against the wrongs of shopping will begin to make people think more about what is most important at Christmastime. Only the shoppers can put Christ back into their Christmas.