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Consumerism is killing Christmas

Published 24/11/2016

Belfast Telegraph letters to the Editor
Belfast Telegraph letters to the Editor

The US is still shocked by the unexpected results in the presidential, senatorial and House of Representatives elections, which bitterly divided the country, but where 43% of those eligible to vote didn't bother.

The liberalism of the Blue Donkey Party was stampeded by the free-market capitalism of the Red Elephant Party, where the mighty dollar reigns supreme.

What will distract Americans this holiday weekend is their devotion to consumerism. The deeper meaning of Thanksgiving Day has totally lost in the rush to a Christmas shopping spree.

For decades, Thanksgiving has been sacrosanct for Americans - a non-denominational national celebration and a guaranteed family holiday.

It's also the day before Black Friday, the shopping frenzy that marks the start of the holiday season. Now Black Friday is slipping into 'Grey Thursday' and taking retail workers with it.

Most major retailers open very early and even overnight to offer promotional sales. Many non-retail employees and schools have both Thanksgiving and the following day off, which makes it a four-day weekend, increasing the number of potential shoppers.

Marketing firms have now created 'Cyber Monday' to add another shopping day on to the Thanksgiving weekend and to persuade people to shop online.

Black Friday and Cyber Monday are two of the busiest shopping days in the USA. In 2015, $54bn was spent during the four-day Black Friday weekend by about 140 million people.

Traditional Christmas values are under threat from American consumerism. The materialism of Grey Thursday, Black Friday and Cyber Monday has nothing to offer our Christmas season other than huge debts, maxed-out credit cards and unneeded goods.

The Yanks can keep their Black Friday. Let's continue to celebrate Christmas in a time-appropriate, meaningful and traditional way.

WILLIAM RYLE

By email

Online Editors

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