Along with its numerous sales and crowded malls, Black Friday brings violence and greed, with 117 injuries and 12 deaths coming as a result of the materialistic holiday season.
When sales and bragging rights sourced from buying the most recent release for the lowest price seem to not only disrupt but harm people, consumerism and its harmful effects really begin to show. More and more of the stores providing these Black Friday deals open Thanksgiving night, forcing employees to work long hours and face criticism and anger wrongfully directed at them. Countless viral videos online show just how cruel the general public can be to these retail workers when driven by materialistic ideals.
Giving gifts to those you care about can be a great way to express your gratitude and appreciation for them. While gift-shopping can be very important to some people, it is not, nor has it ever been, the basis of the holiday season. High prices and the pressure to give the perfect gift can easily become daunting. Dilemmas like what to get your pop-culture-obsessed friend who’s already bought into every trend imaginable and which tourist destination cap you should get your reserved grandfather plague the “cheery” holiday season. Homemade gifts are great, but not always the “easiest” route so people are led to store-bought gifts, even better when they’re on sale. It’s presumably the easiest and most convenient gift, but it’s the risk associated with going out and doing the buying that lessens that convenience.
Holidays like Christmas, admittedly not the best holiday in and of itself, are tarnished by the depersonalization and newfound traditions devoid of holiday values as a direct result of commercialism. There are so many people who couldn’t care less about the price of a gift, or receiving one at all for that matter, being told that they need to buy their friends a Polaroid camera, their mother a Pandora bracelet and their father a brand-new watch. It’s a ridiculous concept that your feelings toward someone are reflected in the price of what you got them for Christmas and that you need to put your safety on the line to attain it. You risk getting beat up or trampled over at Walmart to buy into materialistic holiday gift trends.
Instead of placing your value on how expensive and exclusive the gift you got was, spend quality time with the people you love. A parent expected to buy the talking, dancing and singing toy from their child’s favorite cartoon, a grandparent to get their grandchildren a fast-fashion rag from Urban Outfitters and a young adult to get their friends whatever buying guides online told them was hot on Anthropologie’s newest releases page, this is what the holiday season has become.
When capitalistic greed surpasses age-old holiday traditions and overshadows family celebrations, there’s a problem with the corporations, not the mindless consumer doing as they’re told.