The holidays are fast approaching us, or at least it seems like it considering the way stores have been stocking their shelves. I can remember my own surprise at walking into a Walmart the other day and seeing Christmas decorations even though it was not even Halloween yet.
Every year, stores start preparing for the holidays a little sooner, and this year they are coming in at a time of deep economic trouble. Many Americans are feeling particularly gloomy about the state of the economy: Consumer confidence fell to the lowest it has been since March 2009 according to an article in the Daily Texan. This is important to note since 70 percent of the U.S. economic activity comes from consumer spending. This could mean that this Christmas, typically the biggest season in retail, many people will be cutting back on their budgets in fear of a bigger economic downturn.
With this in mind, how exactly will this holiday season play out with people cutting back on their budgets at a time when they have traditionally always spent the most?
Despite the doom and gloom in the air about the state of the economy, maybe this holiday season will see the return of the true meaning of the holidays. The true spirit of the holidays (which for myself, as a Christian, means Christmas) is the spirit of selfless giving. Yet for far too long, the holidays have been all about giving with the condition of reciprocation; that is, it has been just as much about what we receive as it is about what we give to others. This has been aided by the enormous commercialization of the season.
Every year, stores spend a considerable amount of time and energy promoting the holiday season and focusing on the new holiday mainstays; consumption and worries about what you will receive. This goes wholly against the true spirit of the holidays, which is supposed to be a time of giving. Yet maybe in this time of grim economic outlook, low confidence and pessimism, we can rediscover the true meaning of giving selflessly.
Though we may all be getting less this holiday season, perhaps we can make it more meaningful, in what could be a shining example of the idiom “less is more.” As cheesy as that may sound, it is my opinion that this holiday season would be much more meaningful to us if we all could share what we can with those who are worse off than ourselves. We can give and share what we can with those who need it and in the process, we may receive a greater emotional satisfaction and happiness than any gift we received could have brought. Though this holiday season may be different than the previous ones due to the pessimism about the economy, it may also be distinguished by celebrating the true spirit of the holidays: giving selflessly of ourselves to help others.
Jordan Rubio is a broadcast journalism major from San Antonio.