Thanksgiving is over, the leaves have fallen off their trees, and it has finally snowed. December has approached and it’s time to start the ever-so anticipated holiday season. Christmas, Hanukkah, and New Year’s Eve are some of the holidays celebrated during this season and it is undeniably one of the most refreshing and happiest times of the year. However, even though this season is one full of love and cheer, many people fail to enjoy themselves due to the large amounts of stress and the commercialization of the holidays.
The holiday season can be a difficult time for many people for a variety of reasons. Everything is typically busy and crazy around the holidays: teachers try to cram a whole unit in during the two weeks before break, friends and family buy each other gifts, people attend numerous holiday parties, and more. It seems like you can never slow down during the holidays because life is moving so quickly. The holidays are also tough on people due to the cost. The holidays come with a price tag; one that can seem almost overbearing at times. Sometimes it can be very difficult to find the money, and it can be emotional for people who want to give their loved ones gifts. The idea of gratefulness emerges a lot during the holidays, especially for a thoughtful gift that you receive from a friend. Although, the need to buy presents distracts from the heart behind the action.
Another factor of the holiday season that can be hard to look past is the commercialization of everything that surrounds the holidays. Even before Halloween ended, it seemed that Christmas had taken over local stores, which was surprising since they usually start putting out decorations in November. Many people agree that the holidays will “take over” everything.
“I don’t like how commercialized it is,” senior Krista Chen said. “It’s everywhere, basically from Thanksgiving to Christmas, and it can be overwhelming.” Christmas specials seem to air earlier every year, houses decorate for Christmas earlier, and honestly, it can feel as though the holidays are shoved down our throats at times. Everywhere you look, you see something involving the holidays, and this serves as a constant reminder of our beliefs in consumerism. Because of the timing of the year, many advertisers and businesses want to take advantage of the consumerist values that occur during these holidays.
Even though it may seem as though the holidays are too stressful and over-commercialized, there are still many ways to enjoy this time of the year and to slow down when you’re busy. Spending time with family, friends, and loved ones can be a wonderful way to enjoy the holiday season and give thanks. “I like to enjoy the holidays by doing festive things, hanging out with my friends, and making food with my mom,” sophomore Mya McElhinney said.
Lastly, while it may seem cliche, it is important to remember the “reason for the season.” The holidays aren’t just about receiving presents; it’s a time to be appreciative and give to others. Giving back to the community is a great way to celebrate the season, and you’ll feel rewarded for your actions in addition to creating unconditional kindness. For example, giving to the food bank or volunteering with helpful organizations can help to brighten someone else’s day, in addition to yours. Another idea is to do simple acts of kindness for important people in your life. It may be something small, like a compliment, or it may be a large gesture, but it is always very appreciated.
While large amounts of stress and commercialization may make you feel down, always remember that there are many ways to create a season of joy during the holidays. Sometimes it’s difficult to understand, but the greatest gift of all time is feeling empathy and connecting with others.