Every year around Christmas time local businesses in downtown Durango kick off the holiday season with Noel Night, an evening full of discounts and goodies. Shops are packed full of people shopping, but also full of people just enjoying the cheery spirit that Christmas brings out in everyone, from lives bands in the shops to theater performances on the street. What does Christmas mean to the people of Durango? Materialism or spending time with the people they love? Or maybe a mix of both?
Jr. Autumn Ford is one of the many locals who embraced Noel night, but not in the way of materialism.
“I spent the night with my friend just walking around the bustling streets of Durango, we watched people stream in and out of local businesses, with hot chocolate being sold on nearly every corner, making the environment very friendly and cheery,” Ford says.
While Christmas has become a great time for showing love and appreciation for people through gift giving, it has also come to the degree where spending has put people into debt. Studies from the American Research group say that people are now dipping into their 401k in order to get that new Xbox or flat screen TV.
Fr. Kaden Sellers has parents that own a store in downtown Durango called Kid’s Rock, they participated in this Noel Night as well and spent the night watching and making sure no one who values materialism enough would steal from his families’ store.
“We get so busy that I have to walk around and make sure nobody is stealing anything, but we usually have a toy get stolen at least 2-3 times that night (Noel Night),” explained Sellers.
According to Forbes Magazine author Bryan Pearson, American spending on holiday shopping exceeds “1 trillion dollars during the course of the year”. Gifting and decorating is included in this price, but there is also the expenses of all the delicious holiday food, whether it’s on Christmas day or the whole month before.
Jessica Bright, the Food and Nutrition teacher at the DHS, spends a lot of time in the kitchen cooking fabulous food with and for her family during the holiday season.
“I love cooking with my mom, and I have memories of cooking with my grandparents, I still make recipes that I made as a child just to remember them, my grandpa loved peanut brittle and I love making the recipe from his childhood during the holidays!” exclaimed Bright.
So. Jaimie Hitti and her family though have thoughts about doing Christmas a little differently.
“We were thinking about taking a family trip together instead of getting a whole bunch of presents and being at home for the holidays,” said Hitti.
While most families in America participate to the full length of the gift-giving and buying, there are some families like Hitti’s, that take a more untraditional but just as exciting route to Christmas.
Studies show that instead of gifts, traveling has increasingly become a big part of the holiday budget, whether it’s a trip to see family, or a vacation with the family. The most popular destinations include; Cancun, Mexico, New York, NY, Los Angeles, CA, Orlando, FL, and Denver, CO.
Perhaps by spending more time and money on travel, people prioritize time with loved ones over materialism and a ghastly number of gifts, getting closer to what they believe the true meaning of Christmas is.