Consumerism tramples purpose of holidays

People focus more on gifts than spending time with family on holidays. (AP Photo)
People focus more on gifts than spending time with family on holidays. (AP Photo)

By Kelly Corbett
Social Media Editor

Well, it’ll soon be that time of year again. Happy holidays, folks. Time to trample a stranger to get the last Malibu Barbie doll on the shelf and wait on lengthy lines, almost as long as your rapidly growing credit card bill — all in preparation to pile up heaps of attractively wrapped presents for your loved ones.

And while many of us probably haven’t even thought about holiday shopping yet, the season has been marked on every retail store’s calendar for quite some time. If you work at a retail store, the Christmas season can seem like a beauty pageant where you have to sparkle and outshine the other contestants.

Over fall break, I returned to my retail job at Carter’s to learn that for the second year in a row, several malls will be open on Thanksgiving Day, and will extend their hours for Black Friday.

Carter’s is scheduled to be open from 6 p.m. to 1 a.m. on Thanksgiving Day, and then re-open a few hours later from 6 a.m. to 10 p.m. on Black Friday. Every mall and store operates under different hours, of course, but this is the schedule most New Jersey malls will likely be following.

Now, I’m not complaining about the irregular hours I’m going to have to work, the innumerable cups of coffee I’m going to have to drink, the smiles I’m going to have to fake to all the aggressive customers or even the sanity I’m going to lose during the holiday shopping season — because that’s all part of my job — and hey, they’re paying me (phew).

It’s not their fault they have to open on the holidays. I blame consumerism. I blame the fact that we’re more fixed on what’s under our Christmas pine or what we’re receiving each day for Hanukkah than actually being with our loved ones.

The holidays have transitioned from a time to spend with your family to a money hungry holiday. We’ve come to the point where people would rather speed up the day of giving thanks for what they have so they can race to the mall to get 40 percent off something that they don’t even necessarily need. Who needs turkey and gravy (me), when you can snag a Michael Kors watch for $100 less if you are one of the golden first few customers in line?

There’s a whole month between Thanksgiving and Christmas to knock out holiday shopping — so why must we start the buying process in between bites of stuffing and sweet potatoes?

We’re in too deep to tame this Christmas consumerism beast, but we must try to stop it before it gobbles away at our whole Thanksgiving holiday. Things are bad, but they could get worse, malls could be open the whole day on Thanksgiving.

As we approach this upcoming holiday season — before you swarm to the mall armed with your MasterCard and ready to pounce on anyone that tries to blockade you from having that last toy on the shelf — I ask that you remember who you’re buying the present for. They’re still going to love you even if you don’t get them everything on their wish list. Don’t sacrifice family time for late-night mall escapades and material items. Don’t let sales, no matter how tempting they are, distract you from time with your loved ones.

Students share opinions around campus

Ronda Chrone, freshman criminology major.
Ronda Chrone, freshman criminology major.

“It is becoming a problem… I feel like it’s overpowering. The generation is getting into that and I think we should get back to why we have Thanksgiving.”

Brooke Lionetti, freshman open options business major.
Brooke Lionetti, freshman open options business major.

“Personally, it doesn’t bother me. If you want to enjoy your family meal, then do you. Or go shopping.”