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Christmas, Commercialism, and the War on Christmas

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Christmas tree


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Christmas can be a magical time of the year. It is, without a doubt, a season for celebration. Some people believe, however, that it is far too commercialized  Some are of the controversial opinion that there has been what they call  A War on Christmas. Still others believe that commercialism can improve the joy of the holiday.

Is the Holiday Too Commercialized?

Many devout Christians are of the opinion that the commercialization of the holiday detracts from the true meaning. As a result, some devout Christian groups have made efforts to rid Christmas of the more commercial activities, such as extravagant gift giving, that detract from the true spirit of the seanson. Such groups have advocated, in lieu of such extravagance, donating the money ordinarliy spent of gifts to charitable causes. They feel doing so would be better in keeping with the true meaning of the holiday.

History of the War on Christmas?

Ever since, in 2009, when Fox News conservative political commentator, Bill O’Reilly, announced   that there was a war on Christmas, the controversial and supposed war on Christmas has waxed and wained from year to year depending upon the mood of the media and the masses. He stressed that Christmas needed to be validated in the greetings of people who work in retail stores. Retailers, in efforts to avoid offending those who are not of the Christian faith, had started using the more inclusive seasonal greeting of Happy Holiday instead of Merry Christmas. This became one of the motivating factors for O'Reilly's accusations of a war on Christmas. Conservative Christians, seeing themselves as the defenders of Christmas and its true spirit and meaning, began to boycott stores whose workers didn’t greet customers with Merry Christmas rather than Happy Holiday.

Embracing the Joy of the Holiday in a Commercial Society

Others believe that the Christmas shopping, the exchanging of gifts, as well as the decorations displayed in retail stores and other places, enhance the joy and the spirit of the season. They believe that it's possible to keep alive the spirit and the joy of the holiday even with the barrage of retailers advertising great buys for the Christmas shopping season. Many retail stores have contributed to a heart-warming feeling of Christmas in their sentimental advertisements. One cannot help but notice, however, that retailers moving up the shopping season  to October is a strong indicator of the increasing trend toward commercialization of season.

 It has become a trend now for shoppers, some even armed with tazers and mace as though they were waging a war on competing shoppers, to line up outside of stores in the wee hours of the morning to try to be one of the first inside to get the Thanksgiving Day and Black Friday bargains. Many store employees are in a situation of having to give up their own Thanksgiving celebrations with family to work on the holiday.

Whether or not one believes the holiday has become a victim of too much commercialization, it may be wise for shoppers to try to keep perspective on the true meaning of Christmas. Perhaps embracing the gift-giving spirit as portrayed in O'Henry's "Gift of the Magi" or embracing the loving spirit of Tiny Tim in Charles Dickens' "A Christmas Carol" would serve the season more appropriately.

Christmas tree
Credit: Danka K.

Christmas tree



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  1. Jason Linkins ", “Non-Existent 'War On Christmas' Is Apparently Being Won By The People Who Invented It” ." Huffington Post.com. 28/11/2011. 26/11/2013 <Web >
  2. Onkar Ghate "Commercialism Only Adds to the Joy of the Holidays." U.S. News.com. 15/12/2009. 26/11/2013 <Web >
  3. Amy Sullivan "“Church Group Attacks Christmas Commercialism” ." Time US.com. 15/12/2009. 26/11/2013 <Web >

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