It has become a common complaint that the holiday season has become too commercialized and too long. Stores often begin to show Christmas, Hanukah and Kwanza displays before Halloween. Community groups begin celebrating year-end holidays before the Thanksgiving turkeys are gone. The day after Thanksgiving has become known for its holiday shopping frenzy.

Do you think the holiday season has become too commercialized and too long? What do you think is the "true meaning" of the holidays?

Christmas has become too commercial. There is no longer the spirit of giving -- that spirit has been changed into one of getting. No longer do we make homemade gifts. Companies have been transformed into Santa's workshops, their employee's are Santa's elves and shoppers are all would-be Santas. Christmas costs too much. We expend more time and money in shopping than we do in sharing love.

Most say that Christmas is too long. Christmas has been, and always will be, only one day of the year. What extends it is that businesses capitalize on our material desires in order to sell their wares. There are many consumers looking for the ultimate Christmas gift. What we don't realize is that our love and support of family and friends is the greatest gift we can ever give.

Christmas without gifts would be barren, but we need to make them gifts from the heart. JEREMY ARMSTRONG Northwestern

Do I think the holiday season has become too long? No, I don't. If you want my opinion, I think it is too short.

There is never enough time to go and visit all of your relatives because either you have to go back to school or your parents have to go back to work. And as far as the holiday season being too commercialized goes, I think that is crazy. The holiday season can never be talked about too much. People these days don;t really know what the true meaning of the holidays is. They don't really know what it is they are celebrating; they are just celebrating to be celebrating.

I think the true meaning of the holidays is to share and to give. You should not be worried about what it is you actually get for Christmas, but about what you can give to those less fortunate than yourself. THOMAS THORNTON Oxon Hill

The holiday season has become too commercialized. Before Thanksgiving even gets here, the merchants are talking about Christmas! They act as if Christmas will not be here next year and in the years to come. I am not saying that Christmas should not be celebrated, I am only saying that we should at least wait until December before beginning to advertise it.

Christmas should be seen as the day that Jesus was born. Instead, people see it as a day for giving and receiving presents. During this season, people are rushing to buy gifts and trying to buy the newest items available that year. For example, when Cabbage Patch dolls were new, everyone was fighting over them and I thought to myself, "Who in their right mind would fight over a doll that does nothing other than sit and grin?"

If everyone celebrated the true meaning of the holidays, commercialization would not even enter the picture. VONETTA HARRIS Forestville

Indeed, I believe that the holiday season has become too commercialized and too long; more so every year. It is disheartening to see how traditional symbols are being exploited by businesses rather than being honored and appreciated. The holidays are quickly losing their emotional significance as the nation turns more toward materialism.

I believe the true meaning of the holidays differs from individual to individual, yet certain aspects are the same. The holidays are a time to relish peace and family, to experience feelings that go deeper and beyond the self. It is time to cherish all that we hold dear. And it is time to remember that we must help the less fortunate throughout the year, not just on a few days in December. ANNA FIELDING Laurel

The common complaint that the holiday season has become too commercialized and too prolonged is true. The real meaning of Christmas has been forgotten. Traditionally, Christmas was the time when families came together to celebrate being together. People don't care about being together, peacefully, any more.

Television makes people feel that they have to spend hundreds and hundreds of dollars on a person to make them happy. Why should you have to buy expensive gifts to make a person feel loved and happy? Children brought up in today's society think that if the parents don't buy them everything they want for Christmas, the parents don't love them.

I believe everyone should be happy just being together. You shouldn't have to prove anything to anyone, especially on Jesus' day. You have 364 other days to do that. STEPHANIE OSTEN Community-based Classroom Students Speak Out

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