#47 TRENDING IN Opinion 🔥

Why Are Americans so Obsessed with Holidays?

Opinion

Tue, January 23

The holidays are a huge time for every family around the world. They give you the chance to spend time with family, receive gifts, and attend religious ceremonies. However, Americans take the holidays to another level.

Whether it is going all out to plan an Easter egg hunt, decorate your home for Christmas, or going to the outlets at 6:00 a.m. on Black Friday, Americans take holidays very seriously. Christmas, to no one's surprise, is the holiday that many people tend to focus on. In fact, in 2019, Americans spent over one trillion dollars on Christmas alone. This raises an important question: Why are Americans so obsessed with holidays?

green christmas tree with red and white baubles
Photo by Cameron Stewart from Unsplash.

Distraction From Reality

I think Americans are so obsessed with holidays because it gives them an excuse to escape their lives. For example, teenagers who are having a hard time at school might spend hours perfecting the perfect Christmas list to give to their parents, or parents who are angry at their children spend hours at the mall finding presents for everyone. These tasks - decorating, cooking, baking, preparing, shopping and wrapping - give us something else to focus on.

I don't think that this is a bad thing - I understand wanting to escape my daily life for a few hours. However, I think that we need to take a step back and think about what we are doing: is it really a good thing for us to be obsessing over all of these holidays?

I think the level of obsession that we have now is a bit much. We spend so much time trying to perfect the holidays that we forget the true meaning of them. Each holiday has a meaning, whether it's religious or patriotic. Through all of the grandeur around the holidays, we ignore how important these days are.

One other factor that plays into the distraction from reality is the time off of school and work. These breaks provide us with more free time than we are used to, since we don't have any work, except for wrapping presents and making meals, to fill our days with. It is truly easy to obsess over anything, in this case, the holidays, when you have nothing else to do.

brass-colored candle holder on brown table
Photo by Element5 Digital by Unsplash.

Holiday Myths

One aspect of the holidays that truly blows it out of proportion is the myths. For example, during Christmas there's Santa and his elves, and during Easter there's the Easter Bunny. These fictional characters have created new holiday traditions, such as putting out cookies and writing letters from Santa, and having Easter egg hunts.

I think that these characters are good for kids because they provide them with a fun figure and story to go along with the important religious ones. However, the marketing that comes with these characters is extreme.

When I was seven, I learned about the Santa tracker. Yes, you can pull up a world map on your IPad, and see where Santa is and how long you have until he's in your city. My cousins and I loved to track him every year, to the point where I kicked my family out at nine because he was close to us.

Looking back, this seems ridiculous. The excitement of Christmas Eve for kids is wondering when Santa will come, and going to bed early because you don't want him to skip your house, just in case he came early. The tracker, and other extremes like it are blowing these myths out of proportion.

Don't get me wrong here, I love the idea of setting everything up for Santa, and letting kids use their imagination. I think we need to tone back how many details about Santa, and figures like him, we go along with.

Social Media

Another reason Americans are so obsessed with holidays is because of social media. On every platform, especially Instagram and TikTok, we see short glimpses of everyone's holiday. These photos usually have everyone dressed up in front of a perfect tree or table setting, looking as happy as can be.

If we're being honest, we all know our lives are far from perfect, this is just a chance to pretend like they are. Everyone sets the stage when they put up their decorations, and go through with the performance every time they take a picture or tell a story. The holidays make up for the rest of the year, when we might have gotten into fights or a family member got sick. They provide us with a few days a year to pretend that our lives are picture perfect.

Continuing with the social media argument, we have more information than ever about our favorite celebrities' lives. They all tend to post their families and beautiful decorations around the holidays too. For example, the Kardashians post photos and videos of their Christmas extravaganza, and how perfectly everything is going.

This makes us feel as if we have to be as perfect as those families, when we actually don't. Every family has their own way of doing things, and it's perfect in their eyes. We don't need to try to live up to an impossible standard.

time lapse photography of sparkler and U.S.A flag let
Photo by Stephanie McCabe from Unsplash.

I think we all need to take a step back and think about what the holidays truly mean to us. If we re-evaluate how we view the holidays, we can promote a realistic perspective that has emphasis on family and the real meaning of the holiday.

Ava Jankowski
1,000+ pageviews

Writer since Aug, 2023 · 14 published articles

Ava Jankowski is a junior at Shady Side Academy in Pittsburgh, PA. She enjoys writing, traveling, shopping, mock trial, and playing tennis. She is excited for any learning opportunities possible. Ava will attend The School of the New York Times Summer Academy this July.

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