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The Grinch of Christmas: Harms of Commercialization

Whether you celebrate Christmas or not, I want to know, what does Christmas mean to you? What do you think it is supposed to mean? For many, it means celebrating the birth of Jesus Christ and all He represents.  For others, it may mean spending more time with family and other loved ones.  For still others, it means getting people the best gifts ever.

Though Christmas and the holiday season are supposed to be joyous times, many people become stressed and even disillusioned. One of the major reasons why people may be disillusioned is reflected in the results of a Pew Research poll*, where 33% of those surveyed dislike the commercialization of Christmas, and I agree with the 33%. Here is why I believe the commercialization of Christmas is harmful to the holiday and to us:

  1. It misses the point.—Christmas is primarily not about the gifts we receive from loved ones, but commercialization makes Christmas only about the material things we give and receive. Commercialization is very superficial in this aspect. Commercialization can make us so affixed to the gift aspects of Christmas, that we completely miss the real point of Christmas—celebrating the birth of Jesus Christ and what He means to us.  The word Christmas even contains “Christ” in it!  We are supposed to remember the founder of Christmas—Jesus, not just see if we can get the best gifts or give the flashiest and most elegant gifts.
  2. It creates more stress than is necessary.—Besides missing the point of the true meaning of Christmas, it creates a lot more stress than is needed for this time of year. A lot of people, because we have created a society of entitlement and materialism, stress out about what gifts to give others.  They think if they don’t give just the right gift the receiver will not only be disappointed come Christmas, but also may think less of them (the giver).  Some people also stress out about how much they can afford (more on that later) and how much they should or shouldn’t give a particular person. Also, a lot of people buy and cook elaborate meals for this holiday. Now, I am in no way against people cooking good food and having elaborate meals to celebrate Christmas and other December holidays,  but sometimes they get so stressed during the preparation of the meal that they are unable to enjoy themselves or their loved ones, a lot like Martha in the Bible who was trying to prepare an elaborate meal for Jesus and the other guests there without taking the time to get to know him or anyone else there.
  3. People that are marginalized are left out of the celebration when the holidays become commercialized.—Because of all the emphasis this time of year on gift giving, people who are struggling financially or in other ways, are often left out of being able to participate in this aspect. Imagine seeing your friends being able to afford fancy jewelry for their loved ones, and you would like to give one of them to your mom who is sick or dying, but not having enough to buy it. However, if the true meaning and the more spiritual aspects of Christmas were emphasized more, the joy and the hope that Christmas has to offer would be able to be realized by even society’s marginalized!  The privileged in this society would give to those who are more marginalized because they would know and understand that everyone deserves joy and peace this Christmas, not just themselves.  More people would be less materialistic and put more time in to help the hurting and needy, and spend more time with those who matter most to them.


These are just some of the harmful aspects of commercialization. Of course, I am not against shopping, as I do a share bit of that myself. However, rather than stress out about food preparations and gifts to give loved ones and friends this holiday season, let’s think about the true meaning of Christmas, and cherish those we love. Finally, let’s bring joy and hope to those who find this time of year difficult.





12 thoughts on “The Grinch of Christmas: Harms of Commercialization”

  1. Dead on point! How I feel! So much commercialism! Let’s not forget the 2 months of Christmas music, by the time Christmas comes, I am so sick of it! Yes I do get stressed! Christmas cards to send out, gifts to get.


  2. I love the love of Christmas! I love showing people I care most about how much they’re appreciated by giving them a gift picked out just for them! I think, the good thing about a commercialized Christmas is the gift of giving.


  3. It’s interesting what you say about gifts, because to me they’re actually really important! Have you ever come across ‘love languages’? The theory is basically that different people have different ways of expressing love – so for some people it’s saying loving things, for others it’s physical contact, or giving time, or spending time with the person. Anyway, for me, one of the biggest ones is gift giving, so giving and receiving gifts is incredibly important to me. Not that that means a lot of money has to be spent on them or anything, of course!

    I personally like the fact that a huge proportion of cultures and religions have a winter festival. Of course the one everybody refers to now is christmas, but really, the point of the festival to me is that human beings basically need something warm and indulgent and jolly to give us a boost in the dark winter months, and what we now call christmas is simply a continuation of that ages-old tradition. So I’m not sure I exactly agree that it’s too commercial – unless, of course, we say that the whole of life is too commercial (which I think it is, rather!). Because in our culture, life and celebration is commercial, so it’s natural that festivity and joy are expressed in a commercial way, if that makes sense? But I think it’s also natural that when everything’s so dark and glum and cold, we love to have lights and music and social contact and good food and all of that.

    I think, myself, that the real ‘problem’ with christmas is expectations and oneupmanship. We think we’ve got to do this and that because society expects it, because our family and friends expect it; because we expect it of ourselves, even when it isn’t fun any more.

    Anyway, my two-penn’orth seems to have become a good shilling’s worth, so I shall stop now! 😉


    1. I love giving and receiving gifts too, but the problem I have with commercialization is that the materials themselves are the ONLY things that are emphasized, not the spirit of giving itself, nor the thoughtfulness and kindness of the giver. I think you hit it on the nail when you said the problem of Christmas is expectations and one upmanship! That is the commercialization I was speaking of, not the spirit of giving. 🙂


  4. I particularly agree with point 2… I think it kind of ruins the whole spirit of the holidays to know that you have this to do list that you just need to complete… It’s not fun, it’s just stressful


  5. I take my time when shopping. I make sure to keep in mind that I am buying things that people will actually use and love. The only bad thing is that when people buy you a gift you feel the need to get them one too. Ugh!


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