Is commercialism overpowering the true meaning of Christmas?

by Summer Pedroza 908 views0

Christmas, like most other hugely celebrated holidays, seems to be controlled by big businesses for the sake of making money, according to numerous costumers and store managers from all different shops.

As commercialism increases each year during the holidays, are we losing the true meaning of Christmas?

Courtesy Google Images
Courtesy Google Images

This year’s Starbucks holiday cup has roused up quite the debate from critics who accuse the company of “waging a war on Christmas.”

When the holiday cups made their debut the day after Halloween, the cups made a lasting impression with different tones of red.

Every year Starbucks has served their holiday drinks in a distinctive cup. Each year the cup has signified the holiday season, from snowflakes, to snowmen and ornaments. This year, they went for a more minimalist approach.

Jeffrey Fields, the vice president for design and content at Starbucks, said in a statement that the company “wanted to usher in the holidays with a purity of design that welcomes all of our stories.”

“Starbucks has become a place of sanctuary during the holidays,” he added. “We’re embracing the simplicity and the quietness of it.”

According to social media, this is not the case and critics of the cup said that Starbucks has removed Christmas from their cups and therefore they are hating on Jesus.

But not all customers agree, and are auguring that the people arguing against the cup, saying it’s going against Christmas, are adding to the commercialism aspect of Christmas.

Many people have found this foolish and lacking humility “It’s a cup, and you’re going to throw it away. Plus, snowmen and snowflakes are the description of winter not Christmas,” said Hannah Acosta, a COC student and frequent Starbucks costumer.

The red holiday cups have angered many Christians but the company says its intention to give the buyers a chance to be creative with the holiday cup.

“This year’s design is another way Starbucks is inciting customers to create their own stories with a red cup that mimics a blank canvas,” the company said.

So, are the red-cup critics just being irrational or is Starbucks making a good point?

In a statement to CBS News, Starbucks has responded to all this, saying: “Our core values as a company is to create a culture of belonging, inclusion and diversity…” and “…we will continue to embrace and welcome customers from all backgrounds and religions in our stores around the world. That’s what Christmas is all about.”

This “war on Christmas” and over-the-top commercialism isn’t only limited to the coffee cups at Starbucks.

The Roosevelt Field Mall in New York faced criticism after they replaced their yearly Santa’s sleigh and reindeer decorations for a glacier-themed winter wonderland. After creating quite the frenzy the mall decided to stick with their traditional Christmas displays.

Another retail store that has created a buzz on social media is Nordstrom’s, which has decided to not put up any Christmas decorations until after Thanksgiving.

Many costumers of Nordstrom’s have been complaining about this decision saying the store is ruining festivity leading up to Christmas day. However, other costumers are saying it seems to be a good decision and may bring back what Christmas used to be about, the true meaning of the holiday.

Although, it does seems like no company can make all their costumers happy.

“I just find this whole thing blown way out of proportion,” Ivy Thomas, a Starbucks employee said.

“I’m a fully devoted Christian and I just find it embarrassing. These people are giving Christians a bad name and it’s disturbing to see that other preachers and pastors are complaining about the red cups. They should be the ones seeing this as commercialism rather than what a Starbucks cup symbolizes.” Thomas added.

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Many other store employees from REI, Old Navy and shops in the Santa Clarita mall have reported that Christmas has become a highly commercialized holiday and have seen the incline of gift giving throughout the years.

The ideal meaning of Christmas that most people go by is an occasion for family gatherings and parties a time of gift giving. Have we forgotten the meaning of Christmas and Christ’s message to his followers? Has commercialism taken away the spiritual meaning?

“I don’t see it as a religious holiday anymore,” said Danielle Gonzalez, who works as a store clerk in Macy’s, located inside the Santa Clarita mall. “I used to as a kid. My family would all put up the Nativity scene together and it used to be all about Jesus.

“Now, it’s all about getting gifts, decorating and having holiday parties,” she continued. “It’s not really about religion anymore.”

However, Tyler Franklin, a Vans shoe store employee at the Westfield Valencia Town Center, Santa Clarita’s mall, says he still celebrates what Christmas is meant to be celebrated for, according to his beliefs.

“It’s supposed to be about religion and all about Jesus,” said Franklin. “The real meaning why we celebrate Christmas is to remember Jesus and his birth and to celebrate him.”

Others, like Arielle Lopez, the manager for Sunglass Hut, a small shop inside Macy’s at the Westfield Valencia Town Center said, they could find a balance in the holiday without losing the meaning of it.

“For me it’s about religion, but also about having holiday festivities with family and friends and exchanging gifts,” said Lopez. “The two meanings mix for me. I go to Mass on Christmas Eve but I’m also partaking in all of the shopping and overly festive decorations and parties.”

There may always be two side of this “war on Christmas” but like any other holiday, more people have agreed that any holiday is a time for family, friends, gifts, drinking, dancing and singing. Whichever way you view Christmas, whether if it’s all about the gifts or all about Christ, this holiday is up to you on how you want to celebrate.


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