Materialism is distracting the true meaning of holidays

Madhav Pamidimukkala, Sports Editor

The holiday season is supposed to be a time of joy, splendor and appreciation for family and friends, but it seems that tradition is being eroded by materialism.

Along with festive decorations and music, the holiday season — starting with Thanksgiving — is characterized by discounts and advertising as corporations take advantage of the most profitable fiscal season.

The reason this is the most profitable season is due to the standard expectation of new things in the form of gifts in the form or clothes, technology, toys — you name it. People are either frantically stretching their bank accounts to buy gifts for others for fear of disappointing them, or setting lofty expectations for their own gifts.

Granted, this does not define every American, but it does apply to a large portion of the population. The holiday season is a time when people are supposed to be grateful, but I believe the opposite effect is occurring. When people obsess over the newest product available, they lose value for the possessions they already have. In addition, less importance is placed on the non-material possessions we all have as Americans. The constant need for new products that corporations facilitate distract us from appreciating the gifts we have as Americans and makes the material aspect of new items seem better than the intrinsic value of the familiar bonds we have.

Every American has won the genetic lottery being born in this country, which is evident if you see the ruthless oppression present in other countries and our standard of living compared to theirs. In countries like Sudan, political tension has led to innocent civilians being slaughtered by the country’s armed forces simply for being in the wrong place at the wrong time.

I’m not saying we don’t continue the art of gifting and desire new products at all, but the extreme nature of it in America has distracted us from the priceless freedom and security of life our government grants us. There are more productive outlets for our time, energy and finances than materialistic desires.

Instead, consider making memories with the people around you and enjoying their presence in your life or contributing your efforts to a cause you deem worthy to spread the fortune of your upbringing. Becoming completely selfless is not the answer, as that would be impossible for all people to accomplish, but we should question the true source of our happiness and wonder if we are being distracted enough by businesses to ignore the things that are truly priceless and invaluable that we possess.