The Student Newspaper of Cathedral Catholic High School

Dons Press

The Student Newspaper of Cathedral Catholic High School

Dons Press

The Student Newspaper of Cathedral Catholic High School

Dons Press

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Festive Cheer or Consumerist Fear?

Getty Images/iStockphoto
An Increased obsession with the holidays brings in more and more money every year, and while all this excitement is great for some it has difficult implications for others

           Across the country, the hues of the leaves are alight with the cresting of the fall season-a time honored physical change that marks the real end of summer and the transition into the winter months. But many lack this perfect festive backdrop, leaves don’t yellow everywhere, foggy mornings don’t exist in many places, and snow doesn’t blanket the roofs of houses everywhere. There is an innate desire for these criterias though. If they don’t exist in the majority of regions, where did they come from?

              Take the show Gilmore Girls for example, no matter what else is new on Netflix every fall Gilmore Girls takes up its post as one of the highest recommended shows on the platform despite its last episode airing all the way back in 2007. It comes back every year and many flock to it. It fills in the void a the lack of picturesque fall leaves. 

                It’s evident that many feel pressure to curate their own perfect fall season. The pressure is everywhere, in posts on TikTok and instagram, the characterization of Autumn and Winter in shows described earlier, and in other media. But that first topic, social media, has taken center stage. 

                Even though social media hasn’t reached the importance it holds today, platforms like YouTube and Instagram had influence in their early days. Back in the 2010’s the culture of Instagram was strategically staged posts that were so obviously disingenuous but still beautiful. Remnants of these curated posts are still present today in influencers like Caitlin Covington who’s become the internet’s queen of fall. A commenter described her seasonal post as “the beacon that stops the earth from collapsing on itself entirely”. 

           On YouTube as well ‘get ready with me’ videos were abundant year round but especially during seasons like fall and the holidays. These old trends are not so far from the current state of social media. Pictures with fall leaves in the background still trend miles higher than ones without on Instagram, and the iconic ‘get ready with me’ video has migrated to TikTok and taken on the name ‘GRWM’.

            To put it plainly, people still love seasonal cheer and the pressure to feed into that cheer is as alive as ever. Where people invest their spare income show these trends as well, according to fortune the ‘pumpkin spice market’ brought in more than 800 million solely in July 2022-2023.

             Most recently Starbucks has removed their fall menu and replaced it with their holiday replacement on November 2nd. 83.3% of CCHS students— including myself— can attest to the fact that these seasonal drinks really aren’t that good, according to a CCHS survey. It all seems overrated. 

             As soon as that hype for fall described earlier reached its peak it was suddenly over and immediately it’s time for the holidays, snow, and non-stop Christmas music on the radio. Honestly, it’s fun to participate in these trends and be excited for what’s to come, but in my own experience the hype never meets anyone’s expectations when it comes to these things.

                The boatloads of money many spend on gifts, trips and drinks to try to attain that perfect holiday feel are sucked out of consumers by companies fully aware of how they can employ seasonal cheer to meet their bottom line. It’s depressing, seeing companies use their consumers in what is supposed to be a warm and fuzzy time of  year.

              In 2003 according to Forbes, Americans spent upwards of 437.6 billion on holiday festivities. Contrast that with the estimated 936.3 billion spent in 2022 and it’s obvious how much more the average American is willing to spend on their December activities.

              With where the economy is right now, with high inflation, low wages and a soon to be crashing real estate market, many Americans are living in fear of how they’ll pay these costs. Prices and the cost of living continue to soar and wages on average continue to stand still. Here at home in San Diego, ‘America’s Finest City’ has become the one with the highest cost of living in terms of prices and average salaries nationwide.

          The holiday season is the most expensive time of the year, meaning most profitable for companies, and much like how many of those companies are unwilling to raise wages or support workers, they will try to suck even more profit out of consumers. It’s a sad sight to see, but at the very least companies can never put a price on what matters most during this time of the year: loved ones. 

           So buy that Peppermint Mocha, go on trips to the mall, fill a stocking or two, but don’t forget what matters more than any gift under the tree this holiday.

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About the Contributor
Lucy Miller, Culture Editor
Hi! Im Lucy Miller, a Junior attending Cathedral Catholic High School and working as the Culture Editor for CCHS Dons Press. I love being active in my community through volunteer work, and one of my favorite interests is painting. I think one of the most amazing things we can do as people is share art and our own experiences with each other, that is what I plan to do with my writing!

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