By Emma Rogers
Debating the realities of giving and receiving gifts over the holidays when materialism takes on a huge role
Ever since the first “Dear Santa” letter was written, the idea of giving and receiving gifts began the materialistic aspect of the holidays. According to Tim Kessler, a professor of psychology at Knox College in Galesburg, Illinois, specializing in materialism and well-being, to be materialistic means to place values that put a relatively high priority on making a lot of money and having many possessions, as well as on image and popularity, which frequently becomes expressed through money and possessions.
There are different views on materialism, it just depends on the encounters one experiences with a materialistic person. On one hand, it can be seen as making one greedy, while others see it as prioritizing receiving a gift over everything else.
“To me, materialism is less of greed and more care for your possessions. You’re concerned about items you put your soul or money into. I’m a materialistic person, and to be honest, as much as it is a bad thing, I don’t find caring for something you put effort into as bad,” Holy Emelicheva (‘22) said.
The idea of gift-giving becomes more of a priority in the spirit of Christmas; however, a gift can hold different meanings to the recipient than the intentions a loved one wanted.
“Materialism means that you value objects more than things like love. If you were in a relationship, some people would rather be with someone who can pay for their things. I also think it means you value the things you have,” Shauna O’Donnell (‘21) said.
During this time of the year, enjoying a gift that was given to you is normal, but becoming upset at the prospect of not receiving what you wanted should not be the norm. Denis Pekusic (‘24) encountered a situation similar when he gave a bracelet to his friend with their name on it. They loved the bracelet but lost it shortly after receiving it.
“I enjoy receiving gifts because gifts mean a lot to me if they come from a loved one or even a friend, also because it makes me happy and possibly other people happy too. Some people are grateful for their gifts and spending time with family and friends but on the other hand, they could also not care to talk to family and only care for the gifts,” Pekusic said.
Materialism can be both a good and a bad thing, it all depends on the situation and reasoning on why an object’s value is worth prioritizing over all else.