The official day of winter usually occurs on December 21 or 22 when the winter solstice begins.  This is the one day out of the year that holds the fewest hours of daylight. But for most of the world, the start of winter along with Christmas celebrations begins the day after Thanksgiving, also known as Black Friday. Thanksgiving is a special day meant to celebrate and be thankful for what we have in life. And so, it is kind of ironic that the day after we spend giving thanks, people are rushing out to take advantage of the latest sales.

Humanity has warped the real meaning Christmas into a powerful mindset of selfishness. More and more families no longer celebrate their thankfulness for each other and would rather celebrate how much money they can spend on one another. The act of giving has been developed into a mentality of greed. Children are being socialized into the cult of materialism and want more as they grow older, and adults make it their business to make special requests. Christmas now brings a sense of competition to who can spend more money and give the more impressing gift. This competitive spirit is the consequential downfall of the true meaning of Christmas.

People point a finger and blame the market for how commercialized Christmas has become and think businesses only do it to boost their company, but they are at fault themselves. Black Friday sales and ads make is very easy for people to get dragged into the mentality of the “importance” of gift giving. Businesses wouldn’t put up the ads or sales unless the society demanded it. It is important for the world to start looking at consumerism issues from both sides. Humanity has evolved to have a very materialistic mindset and demands a lot from businesses during the holiday season. But what people don’t understand is the market recognizes this mentality and so they supply to the demands by producing an extreme amount of goods, and then advertise them through the media or catalogs. Humanity is willing to spend more money every year as our world progresses further into an era of greed. This is a demand and supply issue from both humanity and the market because people in Western Society are very influenced by media and are very materialistic.

Another issue that comes along with Christmas consumerism is the waste of products. Gifts are often wrapped with decorative paper, tissue, and bow ties. Some people go to extremes and use an unnecessary amount of materials to wrap just one present, in an attempt to make it look ‘nice’. This is later ripped apart, crumpled up, and thrown away. What a waste. However, paper materials aren’t the only resource being wasted around Christmas time. This is the time of year where the most energy is being wasted, and it’s on unnecessary decorations such as Christmas lights.  According to The Retrofit Companies website, Energy usage of LED lights cost 25 times less than C7 light bulbs. C7 bulbs are a “financial disaster”, costing $240.00 for 60 days of light usage and waste more energy than needed. Communities light displays such as VanDusen Botanical Garden, and Lafarge Lake also waste a tremendous amount of energy. Christmas, along with winter, is beautiful enough with the cold weather and snow.

Humanity has completely inflated this holiday into a ‘shopping fest’ and has forgotten about the importance of giving to those who are in need, and spending time to appreciate the loved ones that surround us. We have all commercialized this holiday, and developed as a whole to think too much about this materialistic season. Too much energy and materials are being put to an unnecessary use, and it is time for humanity to start realizing the true importance of this holiday again.

If you are planning on replacing your old Christmas lights this year, there some local depots and collectors in Port Coquitlam where you can recycle your old Christmas lights; The Port Coquitlam Thrift Store located at 2275 Elgin St, The Happy Stan’s Recycling Service located at 1603 Langan Avenue, and The Canadian Tire located at 2125 Hawkins Street.