It’s beginning to look a lot like capitalism


Agnes Kurtzhals

It’s beginning to look a lot like capitalism and each year it feels as if the Christmas season is pushed a month ahead of schedule. Graphic courtesy of Agnes Kurtzhals.

Zaynab Kouatli, Opinion Editor

Each year it feels as if the Christmas season is pushed a month ahead of schedule. The minute Halloween comes to an end, corporations begin decorating their displays with tinsel and artificial snowflakes. It’s not even Thanksgiving and my coworkers have already hung the Christmas lights in the office.

By the time it is the actual Christmas season, Netflix has already produced 12 Holiday specials about how a mediocre white dude saves Christmas. I know I sound a little hateful, but I’m not a Grinch. Nor am I a Muslim who is bitter that the barista said, “Merry Christmas”, instead of “Happy Holidays.” I do not even have a problem with Christmas; however, I do have issues with the overconsumption and consumerism that envelopes this holiday.

Consumer capitalism is intertwined with Christmas to create a highly idealized seasonal tradition that promotes excessive market consumption. The free market manipulates its consumers with cruel marketing campaigns. Do you even love your wife? Then buy her that Pandora’s bracelet to prove it. How will your children believe in Santa Claus if you do not spend all of your salary on toys they won’t even play with a month later?

When walking in my local target, I notice holiday-themed products and promotions in every corner of the store. All the snow men and pretty lights are all marketing tactics; such holiday cheer would not be displayed if it did not boost sales and dent your wallet.

From Coca-Cola to M & Ms, Santa Claus was perfectly crafted for retailer’s profit. There is no better icon to embody the essence of capitalism than a white tyrannical factory owner who dictates over a proletariat that slaves all year to mass produce goods for the middle class to obsess over.

Environmental activist, George Monbiot explains, “Christmas permits the global industry to recruit the values with which so many of us would like the festival to be invested – love, warmth, a community of spirit – to the sole end of selling things that no one needs or even wants.” Buying disposable, commercialized and cheap products only hurt our planet by creating more non-biodegradable waste that will never be recycled or reused.

Many are quick to place the blame for the global emission crisis on China. However, China manufacturers products for western societies who indulge in excessive consumption and needless waste. They simply would not keep creating junk if people wouldn’t buy it.

Over consumption is not just seen in the gifts we buy for others, but it reveals itself again in those excessive Christmas dinners. The University of Manchester recently calculated that our combined Christmas dinners produce the same carbon footprint as a single car travelling 6,000 times around the world.

I’m not saying you should not celebrate Christmas or use this article as an excuse not to get your mom a present. I am simply stating that it easy to get manipulated into the capitalist spirit with explosions of green and red. When you are writing your wish list this holiday season, consider asking Santa for a lower rate of consumption.