By: Daniel Nadeau ’20, staff writer
It’s not a new idea to suggest that Christmas is often used as a prop by department stores, toy manufacturers, soda companies and any other capitalist organization that thinks its product would make a good gift.
I think that this is an affront to the meaning of the holiday season. There are reasons why so many cultures celebrate during the winter whether they are religious or not: the winter is cold, really cold.
Very few people have enough hair on their body to keep them warm during the winter, and clothes can only do so much to keep people warm. The cold also tends to kill crops, which was not great for people living in self-sustaining agricultural societies.
The reality is winter was not always a holly, jolly time where families sat around, opened presents and avoided bringing up politics in fear of making things uncomfortable for their neo-monarchist cousin.
People died in the winter, they got frostbite or got colds and cases of flu; it was the sad reality of a less modern time. Pagan holidays based around the winter solstice were much like an Irish funeral, in the face of death they decided to get together with their family and their community and get drunk, feast and, in general, celebrate life.
While it might be a cliché, Christmas is about family, whether it be parents who raised you and the siblings you grew up with or your family-of-choice, the friends and loved ones you feel a familial love for. I don’t think presents are necessary for these celebrations when what should matter is just the presence of your loved ones.
Commercialism gives us a different view however, with a bunch of toy ads that make kids feel like they need all the cool new toys to fit in with their friends at school, and that if an adult doesn’t participate in the “Happy Honda-days,” “Toyotathon” or “December-to-remember,” they don’t care as much about their family as their bourgie neighbors, the Joneses. These companies try to make the holiday season about getting and, to some degree, about making yourself valuable through what you give. Of course, I’m not totally against giving; presents can be meaningful and giving to charity is great.
In the end, the most important thing to do this holiday season is to make sure that your loved ones know you love them, and not to worry over the fact that you couldn’t get everyone the exact present that they wanted.