As the year comes to a close, the holiday season crawls in to remind us how important our family and friends are. But lately, it doesn’t seem like genuine bonding is the reasoning behind everyone’s holiday cheers. With the highly commercialized sales and days like Black Friday and Cyber Monday, it is hard for the holidays to be anything more than marketing ploys between large corporations and companies. 

While the holidays are a great time for our countries true capitalist ways to shine, often greed and financial stability get mistaken for “holiday spirit”–which can be more harmful than we may think. According to Fox, one in every five children in America are living in poverty, which means they don’t have their basic needs being met–let alone enough resources to keep up with new trends.

While glitz and glam are normalized in holiday tradition, some customs don’t have to be continued. Since only 22 percent of teens earn their money by working a job, most of us don’t have the resources to spend on extravagant gifts–and it isn’t reasonable to expect us to afford it.

We believe it should not be expected to spend large amounts of money to show our appreciation to others during the holidays. 

To be real, we are too young to be feeding into capitalist America. With the limited money we do make, we should be able to spend or save it without obligation. Our world may be advancing, but we do not need to buy expensive gifts to show our appreciation to the ones we love. Simply writing a letter, baking treats or creating art is just enough to remind them that you love them. 

According to Futurity, it isn’t just societal expectations pressuring us into spending our entire paychecks–but even Santa Claus himself. Santa has become the perfect symbol of consumer abundance and we haven’t even realized. Instead of making memories and cherishing time together, Santa has redefined holidays as a time to get the latest and greatest gadgets and accessories. But we don’t have to feel obligated to buy the shiniest diamond to prove we care about our friends or significant others.

The holidays should be about valuing the people who you care for most and spending quality time together. With our limited income as students we don’t have to spoil our friends with money–after all a homemade gift is more valuable than anything the store could sell us.