From the Editor: Ho ho hold back on holiday spending

With seasonal sales constantly being thrown in our faces and friends talking about the latest trends for our holiday wish-lists, it is easy to get sucked up in a materialistic vortex and forget what the holiday season is really about. We stray away from our normal routines as Thanksgiving comes and goes, and we adhere to holiday traditions. The new holiday Starbucks flavors and latest Xbox games seem to grab our attention quickly, but what we should really be looking forward to is the quality time we get to spend with loved ones this time of year. The expectations, stress and demands of the holiday season have us wander from the true purpose of the holidays — a season of togetherness, giving and joy.

As Christmas trees are being decorated and menorahs are being lit, many people are preparing for the holidays and getting into the spirit of the season. This time brings loved ones together to create some of the best memories. Because we can be distracted by our hectic college schedules, especially as we near the end of the semester, it is easy to lose sight of what is really important.

The span of the holiday season after Thanksgiving is only a short amount of time to gather presents, find the time to see family and friends and get everything done at school on top of it all. Our motivation starts to lack and we become stressed when we should be focused on getting our to-do lists done to enjoy the holidays with those we wish to surround ourselves with. We forget to be happy and enjoy the holidays because we become too frantic when trying to get materialistic things on our lists.

We start to worry about what to get for loved ones, what they’ll like and do tons of research to get the most desired items while still on a college budget — but the holidays shouldn’t be about this. Don’t get me wrong, materialistic gifts are great, but they should not be the center of attention during the holidays.

According to a holiday-spending survey released in October from PricewaterhouseCoopers, consumers are expected to spend 6 percent more this holiday season than the last, averaging to about $1,189 per person. Spending over $1,000 for the holidays is not something I want to do.

Consumers have an extra weekend to complete their holiday shopping this year, but more cost-effective methods should be utilized.

Buying or crafting more sentimental presents that our family and friends will enjoy not only puts less strain on our wallets, but also shows that you pay attention to what your loved ones actually need or want. Taking the sentimental route can end up meaning a lot more to a person.

The holidays allow us to create and uphold traditions within our families and circles of friends. These traditions can be anything from baking dozens of Christmas cookies to decorating, activities or craft nights. Something as simple as watching a classic holiday film with cups of hot cocoa can fulfill a festive tradition. As cheesy as it sounds, it doesn’t really matter what you are doing, as long as you are spending time with people who you want to be surrounded with.

After analyzing the holiday experiences of 117 individuals, researchers from the University of Missouri found that those who emphasized time spent with family and friends and endured in meaningful activities had happier holidays. It was found that when people spend astronomical amounts of money on gifts, they find less joy during the holiday season.

Surrounding ourselves with people who make our lives great are what the holidays should aim to be about. We should be focusing on sitting around a fire and listening to holiday music rather than stressing out about buying overpriced gifts.

The weekly editorial expresses the majority opinion of The Rider News. This week’s editorial was written by the opinion editor, Hayley Fahey.

Printed in the 12/6/17 issue. 

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