Last week, How the Grinch Stole Christmas aired as a holiday special on television. This story follows the adventure of a grouchy cave dweller who hates the noise associated with the holiday. He attempts to “steal Christmas” by robbing the citizens of the town below of all holiday decorations and gifts. The protagonist learns the true meaning of the holiday when, instead of crying, they celebrate anyway sans their material goods. Today, too many would just spend the day lamenting the loss of the gifts.
The commercialization of the holiday season is overwhelming, to say the least. This year, many stores put out their holiday decorations and displays as they did away with the back-to-school merchandise. On Black Friday, some stores such as Kohl’s, which opened at 3 a.m., greeted customers earlier than ever while others, such as Wal-Mart, didn’t even close on Thanksgiving night.
While it is understandable that the economic downturn has caused many stores to advertise holiday bargains more aggressively than in years past, it seems that this year in particular the commercialization of the holiday season has gotten ridiculous. The holiday advertisements began weeks before Thanksgiving, advertising more than just the Black Friday deals.
The holiday season is supposed to be about whom you spend it with, a time to remember friends and family. It is a time to be grateful for what you have and to help out those less fortunate. To light the menorah with family, to adorn the Christmas tree in decorations and strings of lights, to spend time with friends who have been far away. These are the memories that will stay with us. A story of how the dog decided it was a Christmas present and slept under the tree will last longer than any gift.
This may be an old-fashioned sentiment, but what happened to “It’s the thought that counts”? There is nothing wrong with the desire to do something nice for your family, your friends and/or your significant other during the holidays. This inclination is a reflection of the feelings for that particular person on any given day of the year. However, an expensive gift is not the only way to demonstrate that affection, despite the claims of many advertisements, particularly those from jewelry stores of late.
The holiday season is a time of celebration for people of many cultures. Time with friends and family, especially after finals, is simply good for the soul. Other aspects of the season such as decorating the house or going to a friend’s holiday party are wonderful ways to enjoy the holidays, as old-fashioned as that phrase sounds.
Dr. Seuss wrote The Grinch because he felt the holiday season was becoming too commercialized back in the early 1960s. As a former political cartoonist, he made his opinion known through satire. Today we need to take that commentary to heart because we seem to have lost the true meaning of the holiday season in a sea of commercialism.
– Jess is a junior journalism major.