- Category: Volume 84 (Fall 2012 - Spring 2013)
- Published: 25 February 2015
Christmas as a child used to involve Santa Claus and snow forts. At our current ages, Christmas has come to mean purchasing the most expensive present, most likely a technology-based gift, in order to show we care. The typical Christmas present is no longer a handmade craft which we give to our parents, but instead range anywhere from the iPhone to the Kindle. So what has caused the standard price for holiday gifts to raise in recent years?
There are various reasons as to why the price we spend on those we care about has increased. One thought is perhaps the price is too heavily enforced, especially in the media. Commercialism has put too much emphasis on cost and has many believing they not only want, but need, all these luxurious items.
The media also enforces the notion that quality reigns supreme. A prime example of this marketing strategy can be seen amongst jewelers nationwide. They make sure to include in commercials and advertisements that if you truly love someone, then you will buy their product as a sign of that love. It is a true shame such a special holiday has been so overtaken by commercialism.
There is another economic force at work increasing our holiday spending. The financial scapegoat is inflation, which has been affecting Americans for years. It happens every year and we as consumers cannot stop it but only contribute to it. Thus, the increased cost of a present could simply be inflation.
The theory of inflation goes handin- hand with why Cyber Monday and Black Friday have gained so much attention and marketing in these past years. When prices have been raised, but you still are on a budget, these commercially marketed days are the only ways you can stay on budget and purchase gifts your family and friends really want.
Along with these two big market days, things such as lay-away have become commonly used. Lay-away no longer creates the mindset to have money immediately but instead can be paid over a period of time.
Yet another thought which we agree with is that students in college are beginning to realize it is more satisfying to give rather than receive. This could also be a problem because college students now want to give to everyone we love the world. Instead of giving someone what they truly desire, we have begun to purchase items which we know the receiver would sometimes use but are also aware the receiver would know the item was expensive. We want to impress the receivers with a more costly present. Thus, the thought of the ones who are given the most expensive presents are the ones we love the most.
One final reason as to why the prices have gone up can be due to the rise of credit. These cards allow one to pay overtime and not up front, thus making it easier to gradually pay for an expensive present. The bottom line is the present which is given should be centered around something that the receiver will enjoy and appreciate, whether it costs $50 or 50 cents.
Many of you may be asking what the standard price is for college students who are already struggling for cash. Normally, most would agree the standard price per present has reached around $50 but then again, if you lucked out on the sales the cost may be a little lower. We believe anywhere from $20-$50 could serve for family members, friends, and significant others.
This holiday season, rather than trying to buy the most expensive gift, presents should be a sign that you know someone well enough to celebrate them, who they are, and their company.