The winter holidays, in most aspects, is one of the greatest times of the year. Families come together, great gifts, good food...great gifts, etc. There is also, however, a lot of pressure during this time. People are pushing their budgets trying to get their kids whatever they can so that it doesn't seem as though Santa is shorting them presents. Children are also a little weary. It is hard to understand why Santa gave you more or less presents than your friends. This makes me wonder if the common traditions and customs during this time are all that positive. If we consider the roots of Christmas we can see how it has evolved over the years to a holiday that is mostly focused on giving and receiving. In my family we draw names and there is a set budget that everyone can spend so that everyone gets just as good of a present. While I understand this system completely, and I would not want my baby cousin to feel less loved than another, it does seem weird that we have to decide who will give to who and how much they are allowed to spend. My uncle even proposed that the parents just pick out the gift and say it’s from someone else. How ridiculous? Christmas should not be seen as something that causes extra work and overexertion just to find sufficient gifts for your family, right?
It seems some of our practices are teaching kids to be greedy and to view the relationships with their family as gift-getting relationship. In light of this, I don’t believe capitalism or communism has the answer for an “ethical” Christmas. Capitalism creates Christmases that are unequal between families, which could cause jealousy and possible resentment. The argument in favor of this is that if a parent chooses to work harder and make more money their kids deserve to receive better gifts. In our capitalist nation this is the norm and makes logical sense. An alternative to this that Marx may support is creating a Christmas that every family gives and gets the same number of gifts so that there is no difference. Therefore, no one can be made to feel inferior or superior. However, this takes out the spirit of gift-giving in that people are only obligated to fulfill some quota so that they have just as much as the next person. There is no notion of working harder to give something to your loved ones, but something that is already decided. What is a better, more pure way of giving? Have we lost sight of gift-giving? What would the holidays be like without the expectation to receive gifts?