Balls Out: Evidence that the Holidays Converted to Sporting Events

As the holidays come and go each year, it is always a matter of disgust of consumerism that Hallmark has Christmas trees up prior to the passing of Halloween. Every major company shifts their advertising practices to be solely based on the holidays to try to lure people into thinking that their event will be nothing but inadequate without their product.

For example, Seagram crafted a slogan that I received on my beverage napkin during my flight home for Thanksgiving, telling me that EVERY holiday NEEDS good bubbly. Not only do I disagree with their claim, but I have also come to think about the fact that a good chunk of holiday traditions are not only consumerist, but somehow competitive and sporty in nature.

via JFrench101 on flickr
via JFrench101 on flickr

1. Not only has the NFL football game played a large role in families throughout America with lots of dads and uncles, it has become a tradition amongst many a family to play one’s own “Turkey Bowl” on Thanksgiving morning. Another sporty Thanksgiving tradition to occur in families with less macho desire is the concept of the turkey trot. Go run a 5k race before eating endless amounts of pie and stuffing and gravy and all your caloric sins are atoned for.

2.This brings us to the next sporting event that occurs during the holidays, and I might solely be speaking for my own family when I say the amount of food consumed over the course of a Thanksgiving dinner is a competition in itself. There are—I kid you not—a plethora of websites that teach you how to properly maximize your turkey intake. And what boy (at least teenager or college student) doesn’t like to hear that they must be growing due to the obscene amount of food they ate, pass the testosterone please.

3. Moving on to Christmas, almost everything to do with gifts is turned into a competition—beginning with giving. My sister and I traditionally shop on the Saturday following Thanksgiving to avoid the inevitable masses on Friday. Anyway, it is generally a competition—at least in my book—of who gets the better gifts for each of our family members. Although my ideas usually win, sadly my income does not allow for the follow through. Therefore, she is usually victorious to my dismay. And I think it would be hard pressed to find someone who didn’t get just a little bit of pleasure seeing a family member be more pleased with your gift than your weird uncle’s.

4. Gift-receiving is also competitive now-a-days. I have witnessed several little children (either babysittees or relatives) obsessive-compulsively count the number of presents under the tree with their name on them. Whoever has the most—or biggest and shiniest—wins. Simple as that. Consumerism and competition all in one package.

5. Lastly is the sport of the white-elephant gift exchange. I have never partaken in a gift exchange (doesn’t matter if the price limit is 10 or 50 dollars) where someone has not walked away genuinely pissed with a completely thoughtless or gag gift. It is a competition through and through to get that gift card to your favorite restaurant and steer clear from the nose-hair removal kit. Someone wins, someone loses—despite the fact it is supposed to be the most joyous day of the year.