For children and adults alike, the Yuletide season is an exciting time of year. However, in the age of technology and overt consumerism has our dedication to, and preparation for, this season been taken too far?
Many people believe that Christmas has become less and less about celebrating the birth of Christ and goodwill to all, and more about our capitalist society exploiting a holiday that allows us to bask in the release of new products, TV shows, films, and music centred around the holidays.
With these new traditions of excessive buying and Christmas-themed products, has our interest perhaps been taken too far?
The traditional day of celebration now seems to begin on Wednesday 1 November, as soon as Halloween ends. This year, on 7 November, the internationally renowned Christmas lights on Oxford Street were switched on – well over a month before the actual day. While these lights do raise money for the NSPCC, this still seems a little early to justify getting into the festive spirit.
Waitrose have created ‘mulled spice’ scented toilet bleach and Christmas-themed toilet rolls. This seems to be stretching the festive spirit. For most people, there is nothing Christmassy about the bathroom.
In addition to this, rather than simply sticking to selling traditional Christmas foods such as mince pies and pigs in blankets, Tesco have started selling turkey and stuffing flavour tortilla chips. Christmas may be an exciting time of year, but surely this is taking things a little too far?
Advent calendars, which once upon a time involved a kind relative putting chocolates into a calendar, and which would be re-used every year, have now become excessively commercialised. Advent calendars, which used to consist of simply a picture, or chocolate treat, have become more and more extravagant.
Aimed at adults, luxury advent calendars have reached extortionate prices, with the Master of Malt Very Old & Rare Whisky Advent Calendar costing nearly ten thousand pounds.
In 2017 most big brands have their own advent calendars, such as Molton Brown and Charlotte Tilbury, whose advent calendars cost around £150. These products epitomise the commercialisation of Christmas into a consumer-based holiday.
The Christmas Eve box is yet another product that suggests we are taking the festive spirit too far. This ‘new tradition’ entails creating a box for children to open on Christmas Eve rather than waiting until the next morning for all of their presents.
The Telegraph suggest including things such as a Christmas DVD, a book, hot chocolate, marshmallows and pyjamas. But is this really necessary? Most people would have grown up simply putting a mince pie and a carrot by the fire for Santa Claus and Rudolph.
For many, Christmas is still a merry time full of fun and excitement. Winter Wonderland in Hyde Park, London, is open from November 17 until January 1, and provides an incredible day out. Featuring rides, market stalls, restaurants, bars, and an ice skating rink, perhaps this is an area where we are taking Christmas seriously in a positive way.
Christmas markets, popular all over the UK and indeed Europe, provide a communal way for everyone to get into the festive spirit. Although expensive, most markets are free to walk around and have plenty of festive sights and smells to take in.
So, while Christmas may have started to be taken a little too seriously, it is still possible to appreciate and welcome the festive spirit, and the public’s general enthusiasm for the holiday period.
Image: Kyle Taylor via Flickr