The Fourth Estate

The Price of Christmas

“Maybe Christmas, the Grinch thought, doesn’t come from a store. Maybe Christmas, perhaps ... means a little bit more!” — Dr. Seuss.

Itziar de Pedro

Everyone dreams about ‘the most wonderful time of the year’.The weeks leading up to Christmas Day are full of energy, with people eager to spend time with their loved ones and kids buzzing with excitement. But it seems like consumerism is devouring this spirit and making the holidays stressful and dreaded by grownups.

Christmas should be a time filled with joy, kindness and love.Traditions take place, memories are created, relationships are tightened and families are united.Take the ‘Christmas Truce’ for example: on Dec. 24 and 25, 1914, during World War I, French, German and British soldiers ventured out of their trenches and into no man’s land, in a short-lived cease re, to sing carols, play soccer, exchange prisoners and hold joint burial ceremonies.

But in today’s commercialized world, instead of burying war victims, we are burying the Christmas spirit.

Companies who really only want our money are making us believe, through bombarding us with advertisements, sales (such as Black Friday or Cyber Monday) and other marketing tech- niques, that gift buying is the only way to enjoy the festivities.

No longer unique to December, holiday decorations and gifts are appearing in stores even before Halloween. We are being pressured and obliged to purchase things.

But these things aren’t what Christmas is supposed to be about.We cannot buy happiness.

The meaning of Christmas — to be in unity with family and friends— has been erased and substituted by useless, expensive

objects that are thrown into closets and never opened again.

Although some people argue that this benefits the economy, it has become an exaggeration and consequently results in stress, wasting money and damage to the environment.

It is not black or white: we have to find a balance: some sort of gray.

When giving a gift, make it meaningful. Don’t buy gifts according to how ex- pensive they are; buy them for personal value and love.

For your family and friends, the best present is your presence, so be there — whether over the phone or in person.

Make Christmas less about buying and more about family and togetherness. Christmas is at home, do not go looking for it in a store.

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The Price of Christmas