HOW CHRISTMAS PROPAGATES CAPITALISM
Christmas celebration in contemporary times has shown a capitalist culture with a heavy emphasis on exchanging gifts and material goods. Several Christians believe that this way of living is not living like Jesus. Traditional holidays have become notable for the amount of commercial activity that surrounds them. Christmas, which falls on December 25th, is by far the most commercialised holiday throughout the world. When one learns that rituals, festivals, and celebrations are usually dramatic symbolic enactments of the society that generated them, it becomes clear that such a category of events is unavoidable.
● The commercialization of holidays typically begins with the discovery of traditional practices and activities as potentially profitable and exploitable by various economic groups, and due to this, they are commercialised. Another, slightly distinct technique entails attempting to transfer a custom or behaviour connected with one event to a completely different festival. The third technique focuses on the interpretations of the festive seasons into mass media such as music, film, and literature. People continue to adapt and establish new rituals and traditions and employ mass culture commodities to generate meaning within the settings of their own goals and lives. Personal interaction is required for celebrations, and it is through interpersonal communication that true social relationships are formed and sustained.
● The flamboyant lights and adorned homes, the flashing trees and sparkling ornaments, the happy music and heaps of gifts, the delicious meals and beverages are among the many joys of the Christmas season, along with festive gatherings and beloved reunions. Many critics argue that commercialism and mirth have spoiled the “true meaning” of Christmas, which they argue should include a solemn, ascetic tribute to the birth of Jesus Christ, as well as renewed vows to follow his edicts about serving and sacrificing for others, particularly the poor.
● Some economists are of the opinion that Christmas and the practice of gift-giving on this holiday is the reason behind massive economic waste, around billions of dollars annually. This is because people try to buy gifts for their near and dear and may not know with certainty about what they would actually like. As a result, they end up buying something which the other person may never use, and for which they would place much lesser value than the price of the product itself. The same money, if not used for gift-giving, could have been put to better use. This, according to economists, happens several times with many people around the world.
EVOLUTION OF CHRISTMAS CAPITALISM
Most Christmas festivities that take place now may be traced back to Greco-Roman antiquity and, more specifically, to the rise of Western capitalism in the nineteenth century. After the Civil War, America became more secular, industrialised, commercialised, and prosperous, allowing the massive increase of gift-making and gift-buying. Santa’s “modern look” and distinct Christmas Eve routine – the garb, the sleigh, the reindeers – were derived from an initial portrayal in Clement Moore’s The Night Before Christmas, a poem published in 1822. While the character of Santa Claus is partly based on an actual St. Nicholas, who was known for secret gift-giving in the 4th century, Thomas Nast, the “Father of the American Cartoon,” created the contemporary depiction of Santa Claus in 1881. The custom of bringing a tree indoors and decorating it with gifts, lights, and bulbs originated with affluent German immigrants in the nineteenth century – Hallmark offered us greeting cards, and Woolworth offered us strung lights.
Although they had the true Christmas spirit, the Founding Fathers did not celebrate a completely commercialised Christmas. Christmas was not declared a federal holiday in the United States until 1870, since the celebration was growing more secular. Christians were vehement in their opposition to the rising commercialization of Christmas, which they saw as irreligious and as forcing the infant Jesus off the centre stage. They. detested Santa’s gift-giving rule, which applied equally to wealthy and poor children, with presents being given out as long as the children were “nice” rather than “naughty.” Santa behaved with justice rather than Christian mercy, and he only handed true offenders a bad gift rather than forgiveness and a heavenly blessing.
A Christmas Carol (1843), and It’s a Wonderful Life (1946), are both examples of prejudice against capitalist Christmas.
This Christmas Capitalism has grown in strength over time due to a variety of reasons. Firstly, we are material beings. We need to consume material goods in order to exist. We go from poverty to prosperity by creating and consuming more material things such as food, housing, clothing, medical care, vehicles, computers, and so on. Second, under capitalism, intellectual wealth is generated and sold in massive quantities, both online and in shops, in the form of novels, films, music, scientific ideas, philosophic works, lectures, books on every possible topic, and more. Third, millions of people, including many non-religious individuals, especially kids, enjoy exchanging Christmas gifts. It is, without a doubt, an important aspect of the Christmas spirit.
Families in the present day begin their Christmas shopping as early as in November in order to secure the best prices on the latest products. However, it ends up being less about the people they are gifting to and more about the shopping high. Businesses make an effort to appear more warm and human by conspicuously displaying Christmas decorations and providing offers and discounts for Christmas specifically. Smaller companies are also caught up in the frenzy. All radio stations and music channels play Christmas songs and records repeatedly. Christmas films are also released every year, most of which do not even have a unique plot line.
Therefore, Pope Francis has rightly stated about Christmas capitalism, claiming that we live in a “society often intoxicated by consumerism… wealth and extravagance.”