The commercialism of Christmas: gift-giving, John Lewis ads, and eating turkey

“I’ve been fighting against [it] for years, the way they commercialise Christmas.”

Alfred replies:

“A lot of bad -isms floating around this world, but one of the worst is commercialism.”

Christmas is seen as a time of festivities, and often billed as the best time of the year. But is it truly just an excuse to buy more stuff?

Giving gifts

The custom of giving presents at Christmas time has its origin in the story of the Wise Men, who travelled to see Jesus after his birth, and brought gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh. Today shopping and presents is synonymous with the Christmas season, starting with the Black Friday sales and extending through the weekends running up to December 25. The annual trip to the Christmas markets, buying pointless £5 tat for your office secret santa, desperately scrambling around for something to buy your ‘I have everything I need’-dad. It’s all part of the commercialisation of Christmas.

Christmas adverts

How much of the commercial, money-spending side of Christmas was pushed upon us by advertising campaigns?

And then there’s all the other stuff

Of course, Christmas isn’t all about gifts. It’s also about putting up a real tree that could otherwise be contributing to carbon capture, or a fake tree that is contributing to our mounds of plastic pollution. It’s about buying expensive advent calendars to get 24 ‘presents’ that you didn’t really need anyway. And it’s about decorating your house with cheap and flimsy fairy lights, baubles, window stickers, tinsel and so on — most of which is also made from plastic, and will probably make its way to landfill after one Christmas (because who wants the same decorations two years in a row?)

Not an accurate representation of a turkey farm.

Ramblings on communication and our climate crisis🌱

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