By Jessica Hungate
Once a holiday whose origin came from the joyful celebration of the birth of Jesus; now a retail frenzy attracting adults and teens alike. Gone are the days in which the company of family and friends and a warm cup of cocoa in front of the fire sufficed. Nowadays, deals, promotions, and the cry of “Buy one get one free!” are being flung at us in every direction.
Just to throw out a quick example to all you readers who may rightfully be thinking “oh really….,” think about American Thanksgiving. And yes, there is a reason for the specific focus on American Thanksgiving. For one day a year, in the month of November, American families, children, friends, neighbors, mothers, daughters, sons, and fathers all gather around the table to give thanks for the things in their lives, be it family, a job promotion, a good grade on a paper, or a new puppy. They eat turkey, indulge in desserts, and end the day with a full stomach and happy heart. The next day, ironic as it may seem, is Black Friday! This day has been turned into none other than a spectacular display of consumerism which we even experience here in Canada even though it has minimal meaning to us.
Everywhere we turn, it seems that there is a sale for this, or a deal for that. You just can’t seem to get away from it. But don’t get me wrong, I’m not abandoning Christmas! I, like many NT students, love it! I love it for the time spent with family, friends, Netflix, and -of course- the 2 week break. Now this is not to say that purchasing a thoughtful gift for a loved one isn’t exciting and rewarding in itself - it is! However, it is the constant need to buy and buy and buy that shows that consumerism is - quite literally- consuming our society, especially at this time of year.
As NT student we have a plethora of places to shop and buy things from, needed or not, and it is for this reason that we need to be aware of how much we spend, and why. You don’t have to buy your gifts from a fancy brand or store for them to be meaningful or appreciated. Some of the greatest gifts cost little or nothing. A donation to charity, a cherished photo put in a custom frame, or even a poem or card can show someone how much they mean to you. Although some of these ideas may seem cheesy, you may be surprised at their value. Just remember- Christmas is about quality time, not quality deals.