Johnny wants a pair of skates, Suzy wants a doll: Constructing a Christmas world

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christmas tree & presents.jpgI must admit, Christmas time may be my favorite time of year, and many others will say the same. I love everything about the Christmas season--the songs you hear on the radio, Christmas cups at coffee shops, and not to be cheesy and cliché, but my favorite thing about Christmas is being with my family when no one has to work or worry about homework. But with Christmas just around the corner, we have already started seeing advertisements for outrageous Black Friday deals and commercials that depict children waking up on Christmas morning racing down the stairs to see all the presents in shiny wrapping paper from Santa waiting for them under the tree. Are we sending the wrong message about Christmas to children?

In his account of cognitive development, Jean Piaget showed that children's understanding of the world differs fundamentally from adults'. Advertising and the media influences children's understanding of Christmas immensely--they begin to see the holiday as merely the time of year when they get all the presents they want. This could easily impact their understanding of the world in general by reinforcing the wrong values. I'm not saying that Christmas should just be a time to celebrate Jesus and only Jesus, for not everyone who celebrates Christmas is extremely religious, but simply that Christmas shouldn't be a time to celebrate material things. Instead, it should be a time to celebrate with your family and friends, celebrating Jesus or not. Instead of teaching children to construct a Christmas world based on material values, we should teach them to appreciate the more important things that Christmas can bring.

My favorite blog post is "Was that real, or was it a commercial?" because I think it is interesting to analyze how advertisements influence our decisions and change our perceptions of reality and memory.

My second favorite blog post is "A Voice with No Words", which was about Genie, the girl who was deprived of language until she was thirteen; I found this interesting because it shows how valuable a tool language is and how it impacts everything in our lives.

My third favorite blog post is "Grand Theft Auto - Training Kid Killers?" about the impact of video games in causing us to be violent, because my brothers also played the game and I remember thinking how disgusting it was, but I also know that it never changed their morals or desensitized them to violence.

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This is so true kids today are becoming more focused on the material side of Christmas, not saying I am not, and advertising for children is always focussed on new toys, while for adults it seems more focussed as a family thing. I love the reminder of Christmas right around the corner!!!

I think the media is sending the public a distorted message about the holidays and has for a long time now linked it to shopping.

This year shows no signs of slowing down on the news stories about people waiting overnight to be the first in a the store to buy a $200 TV.

Why people would wait for hours in the cold, loose precious sleep and compete often with hostile crowds just for the opportunity to shop is beyond me.

Why this is news is even more alarming.

It would be great if we could focus on the message of giving and helping those less fortunate at this time of year. Celebrate the traditions of getting together and creating warmth and light in a season where those valued elements are in short supply.

Yes, children love presents and will often focus on that but adults should invite their kids to participate in the traditions and celebrations associated with the end of the year rather than buying into the marketing and media hype of consumption.

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This page contains a single entry by Mary published on November 6, 2011 9:20 AM.

Love Abroad was the previous entry in this blog.

TV and the Pressure To Be Pretty is the next entry in this blog.

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