May 28, 2024

The commercialism of Christmas has become a good thing

Conventional wisdom says Christmas has become commercialised and no one knows the real meaning of Christmas anymore. Shops start selling Christmas goods in September, and by December no one can bear another rendition of Merry Christmas Everyone without fearing for their sanity. People eat mince pies in November and carol singers are heard at the start of Advent. THIS IS ALL WRONG! scream the traditionalists.

But is it? Is this really the case? The commercialisation has now gone so far that by the time Christmas arrives people are actually sick of the commercialisation, have had their fill of the excesses and are ready for a meaningful Christmas celebration with friends and family. In a strange way the rampant commercialism that everyone complains about has been a victim of its own absurd success.

Shops are discovering that if you start being Christmassy in September people are sick of it come December. The more that commercialism takes hold, the more we are able to zone it out. Yet those who want to are able to enjoy the non-spiritual mince-pies and flashing lights side of the festive season for so long that even they crave something more meaningful by 25th December.

The growth of charity Christmas presents, where the present is basically given to someone in the developing world and your recipient gets a card instead is a sign that people are tired of the old present swapping routine. For children it is an exciting moment of anticipation and hopefully happiness, but adults can buy most things they want – and if they can’t they are unlikely to receive them for a Christmas present. The forced giving and receiving of unwanted presents is one of the biggest idiocies of Western societies. Presents should be given throughout the year, unexpectedly and with joy, rather than because the date and the shops demand it.

This is becoming more apparent to larger and larger sections of society. The more commercialism grows, the more people realise the sheer ridiculousness of it all. If commercialism hadn’t risen to the absurd levels that it has we wouldn’t have been able to reclaim Christmas as a Christian festival for family and friends. It looks as though Christmas will return to how it was for centuries, with a commercial sub-Christmas celebration peaking in mid-December before the real Christmas takes over. It is a strange culmination of years of sophisticated marketing designed to make Christmas the most profitable period of the year, but Christmas has found an innate integrity that not even the biggest multinationals can destroy.

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