BY: CLAIRE KIM
(Contributor: Yusra Arab)
As deals and promotions have been snowballing into our inboxes, it’s clear that the holiday season is just around the corner. One of the most beloved times of the year has finally slid back into action with stores hitting us up from every social outlet with their latest sales and enticing promotions unique to the holidays. Hoping to get us into the shopping spirit early, stores all over the world use such marketing tactics to distort our rational spending, making it seem like buying snow globes and glittered home decor is reasonable at such a generous time. It’s evident how consumerism plays a huge role in the economic prosperity of stores during these last few months, as customers believe that extensive purchasing is justified by the season of giving.
Consumerism by definition is the idea that buying items fulfills a purpose beyond necessity. In a sense, it describes this “upgrading mentality” many people have when it comes to shopping, as they tend to purchase recklessly solely because new things are being released. Thus, with hundreds of stores decking their facilities with embellished signs saying “limited holiday edition” or “jingle jingle 50% off,” it’s virtually impossible for customers not to spend their money.
With the holiday season approaching, such advertisements pile up everywhere–starting in our own neighborhoods. Decorations, Starbucks cups, and clothing are all marketed for the season. It seems as if there is no escaping holiday-themed items–according to the U.S. Census Bureau, Americans spend at least $600 million on 25 million pounds of fireworks and $193 million on hamburger patties during July 4. This begs the question: is the enjoyment worth the cost? Do we really need to pay to celebrate the birth of “life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness?”
The truth is, all of us celebrate in different ways. But in this country, most things that we want or need to have a price tag attached to them, and with rapid technological advancement, it’s hard to escape the distraction of enticing advertisements. We shouldn’t deny our human tendency to want those 1 dollar items at the register or a new TV for our family, but we should also be mindful of the blessing of the immaterial and the intangible: our family, friends, and the happiness and love that the holidays fundamentally encompass.
(This was a past article I wrote (with Yusra Arab) for my school newspaper a couple months ago, I hope you enjoy!