10 Holiday Controversies

Is Christmas Too Commercialized?
When Charlie Brown (left) decries about the overwhelming materialism he sees among everyone during the holiday season, he needs Linus' help to learn what the real meaning of Christmas is, in this scene from 'A Charlie Brown Christmas.' ABC Photo Archives/ABC via Getty Images

In the 1965 classic "A Charlie Brown Christmas," Charlie Brown complains about the commercialization of Christmas. Even his dog, Snoopy, gets carried away by the holidays, tricking out his doghouse with blinking lights, a star and ornaments. Today, many people continue to share Charlie Brown's frustration with the holiday's overemphasis on buying stuff.

According to a 2013 Pew Research Center survey, the No. 1 thing people dislike about the Christmas and holiday season is its commercialization — 33 percent of respondents checked this box. Another 22 percent said they're not fans of the amount of money shelled out at this time of the year, while 10 percent dislike holiday shopping and crowds. More than two-thirds said the best part about the holiday is something very simple: spending time with family and friends.

Of course, sometimes words bely actions. The same group of survey respondents said they were going to purchase gifts (86 percent), put up a tree (79 percent) and send Christmas/holiday cards (65 percent)[source: Pew Research Center]. So, while many people lament Christmas as being too materialistic, plenty of the same folks do enjoy, or at least engage in, the hoopla.