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Posts tagged ‘christmas’

A Modern Christmas Carol

An illustration from Dickens' "A Christmas Carol" as found on

In his writing, Gary Cross uses Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol to describe the cultural link between wealth and Christmas that was developing in the nineteenth century. Cross suggests that Scrooge was able to buy “the Cratchits joy” with his gifts (59). Due to the “emotional ties” created by gift giving in the domestic setting, family life was idolized and children soon became the face of this developing innocent façade of the nineteenth century (59). In part, this façade that the child represents is an illusion created by a parent through the act of gift giving. With a gift, a parent is able to relive their own childhood, display their “personal affluence,” and proclaim the child as a “deserving” one (59). Cross’ opinion of a child being seen as “deserving” is an idea that holds true in today’s society (59).

Using themes from A Christmas Carol as a representation of today’s society, the child can be viewed as the Cratchits, and the parent as Scrooge. A parent is willing to give “selflessly” to their child, but oftentimes has an ulterior motive of trying to prove abundance and wealth (59). Striving to provide the child with a “shower of gifts,” a parent becomes the ultimate consumer during the Christmas season (59). They become prone and privy to any inkling they might have about joy that their child could derive from their wealth and abundance of gifts. The child is encouraged to indulge and take part in the abundance offered by the Christmas season. Advertisements evoke lengthy Christmas lists and outrageous wants and desires (which are often times strewn by the media as “needs”) from the child. In this way, the child is conditioned by society to hold a certain expectation of a plentiful Christmas. The parent, on the other hand, is expected to react swiftly to the demands of the child, no matter the cost. With the evolution of Santa Claus in the twentieth century as an integral icon of Christmas, the parent finds a scapegoat for lavish spending and indulgence (60). A parent, among other parents, can appear wealthy, yet selfless, through the act of copious giving to the child; all the while hiding behind the “jolly fat man” (60).

Consumerism and Christmas


When we think about Christmas these days, what comes to mind are tons of gifts and over indulgence.   People are maxing out credit cards, and spending thousands of dollars getting presents, even though they can barely afford rent.  I feel that this mentality is engrained in us at an early age, by the time we are adults we have no hope.  In Cross’s article “Modern Children, Modern Toy,” he talks of how the people responsible for this is the parents.  Now it’s not just giving their children whatever they wanted, it has become a climb to the top for who has the most money.  Christmas is the perfect time to be able to over indulge your kid in whatever they want without looking irresponsible.  An amazing example of over indulgences with kids and their toys is when little babies like this have expensive things when there is really no need for it. The problem with this is that there is no reason for a two year old baby to have an Ipad.  The only reason a child would have something like this is so the parents can impress other people, by giving the impression to others they have enough money to blow on buying a completely useless (and expensive) “toy” for their child.  Consumerism has gotten way out of control in our country, and I believe it is time for a harsh wake up call.  With the economy how it is, it is time to start making smarter choices with our money.  The rest of the country needs to learn something from us “Austinites” and stop caring what other people think about us.  What’s important is over indulging your kids with love, not material possessions.