The Real Meaning of the Holidays

Ah, the holiday season is here, and with it comes all the holiday cheer, joyful giving, and homemade desserts. Oh yeah, and let’s not forget the heartfelt traditions that your alcoholic great grandfather established when he stepped off the boat and became an American. But let’s face it; the modern American’s holiday season has developed into something that is quite a bit different from the wintry bliss your great grandfather experienced in his time. Gone are the days when spending time with family and friends actually meant something. With our Xboxes, iPhones, and Blu-ray players, we’ve found as many outlets as possible to avoid any significant interaction with another human being. It seems our generation’s holiday season has morphed into a maelstrom of parental overspending and self centered hopes to fill our materialistic void with the reception of the perfect gift(s). This contemporary whirlwind of American holiday consumerism nearly eclipses the real reason the holidays were here in the first place: religion. There’s not much more you can say about a culture that has a pseudo-holiday devoted just to shopping for the real holidays. However, this year is different. In light of most shares on Wall Street being worth less than a sack of poop and the global economy in shambles, Americans might have to look beyond petty consumerism to make their holidays meaningful (I know, scary). According to the American Research Group Inc., the American public’s overall planned spending for the 2008 holidays is half of what it was just one year ago in 2007. Ironically, holiday spending is down in a time when our economy needs the stimulus most. Could this be the year that millions of young Americans are forced to cut expenses and learn what the holiday season is really about? Could the lack of spending money force us to resort to do something completely crazy like speaking to our families? It would be nice for something positive to spring out of the bubbling cesspool that is our economy, but in reality, there is a reason why many Americans care more about making a good Christmas list than putting actual thought into what the holidays really mean. It is because in the age of mass media and consumerism, any past significance the holiday season once bore has faded away. Nowadays, the holidays don’t mean anything but a break from work and getting that gadget you always wanted which provokes the real question: would we have it any other way?