They say that Christmas is a time for joy and a time for cheer. As it turns out, it is also a time for gift giving, as demonstrated by the flood of patrons into any and all stores looking to snatch up the latest and greatest.
But hold on. Let’s not get ahead of ourselves. You may, as I often do, hear proselytizers saying that the holidays, and Christmas in particular, is a time for remembering religious figures, like Jesus, and a time to reunite with ones family.
So is it harmful to give in to America’s consumer culture? Researchers Kasser and Sheldon (2002) studied this exact phenomenon, finding that those families who put family and religion first (as salient features) achieve greater levels of happiness compared to those who emphasize purchasing presents. When you meet with your families this year, especially if the economy has been rough on your family, know that by being involved with your family you will be happier than if you purchased loads of gifts. Although Kasser and Sheldon didn’t complete research on technology, it could be hypothesized that thanks to technology, like the internet, webcams, Facebook, blogs, twitter, telephones, texting, etc, families, despite being states or even countries away, may still remain close to their families and keep their happiness levels high. Remember to spend quality (not just quantity) time with your family this year. It may have added, unforeseen benefits.