An International Christmas

Isabella Viator ‘22, Magazine Editor

Throughout our history as human beings, we have always jumped at the opportunity to celebrate. Whether it is in honor of good people, celebrating gods, or remembering an event in the past, there always seems to be a different holiday every day. Out of the hundreds of international holidays that take place every day, the few holidays that take place in December rule the holiday scene: at the head, Christmas. The celebration of Christmas, the holiday celebrating the birth of Jesus, arbitrarily placed on December 25, racks in about $465 billion dollars in America alone. American Christmas celebrations are extravagant and expensive. Intricate light shows and giant trees line the streets in every city, but America is not the only country with extravagant traditions. The Giant Lantern Festival in the Philippines takes place every December to mark the beginning of the Christmas season. Americans associate Christmas with the cold and snow, but in places such as Australia, Christmas takes place in the middle of the summer. Christmas celebrations there are appropriate for the weather: outdoor concerts and barbeques. Although the idea of white Christmases does not affect Australia, the Western world still has much impact on Eastern interpretations of Christmas, for example when KFC launched a western-inspired ad campaign in Japan in the 80’s. This blew up and created the KFC-centric Christmas traditions of Japan.

Here in America, we see Christmas in the lenses of consumers, because we were raised in a consumerist society. We are constantly bombarded with ads and decorations and sales from stores that, even media pushing the “true meaning of Christmas” still seems to be pushing a capitalist agenda. It is important to recognize that we would not be able to maintain these happy traditions, such as watching Christmas movies, without the products of consumerism, but it is equally important to remember that Christmas is more about tradition than anything else. It is not bad to buy a Christmas themed Starbucks drink or go to light-up night, it makes us happy and creates a season of peace, but Americans need to branch out as well.  Look into international traditions and find something that does not have influence from the major media. This will help refocus the holiday season, so you can reclaim your holiday from the people who just want your money. Take the season and make it your own!