The holiday season is upon us, yet something feels off.
Ever since COVID hit in 2020, the holidays in America do not feel the same as they used to. It is not just because we are growing up—rather, it is because many long-established traditions like going gift shopping have been affected by the pandemic.
E-commerce companies like Amazon have seen much success due to COVID, as they found a lot of customers in people who needed necessities but were unable or unwilling to shop for them in-person due to quarantine restrictions. Although Amazon is not the only online retailer in the world, it set an example for other companies that going online was the next move. Because of this, many other retailers such as Target or Walmart have opted to include online options in their website as well. As a result, many stores that failed to adapt as quickly, such as Macy’s, Sears and Old Navy that carry the same items as these bigger companies were beaten in terms of pricing and convenience.
Some businesses were forced to close while others turned to selling online and offering curb-side pickup or delivery. This further eliminated the need to go outside during the height of the lockdowns, the effects of which are still seen today: now, there are fewer and fewer people shopping in-person.
This phenomenon especially affects places like shopping outlets, centers, plazas and malls, who depend on foot traffic in order to stay open. For the holiday season, it means that these places which are normally extra busy suddenly lose many shoppers. But how does that affect how we feel during this time of year?
Areas like shopping plazas or malls are accessible for all people to enjoy, especially during the holidays. When Christmas rolls around, shopping malls across America are almost always luxuriously decorated in holiday icons, with the most common being a massive Christmas tree and string lights. Due to the festive and cheerful environment, some people regard just visiting such a place as a holiday in itself, getting them more in the mood for the season. Families and friends will come together to these places, establishing a tradition each year for some people.
However, many stores have been slowly withdrawing from their in-person buyers in order to cater to their online ones, sometimes because they have to. And with more and more people opting for delivery and online shopping because of its convenience, many shopping malls and plazas are becoming less and less populated, decreasing the jollity of the Christmas-like environment. .
But do not lose hope. Though gift shopping has lost a little of its charm due to a heightened reliance on Amazon, we have not been robbed of the entire holiday experience. After all, more than giving and receiving presents, Christmas is about spending time with the people you love. It is important to remember this concept now more than ever. The world and our culture is changing as new systems like e-commerce are invented. Nothing stays the same forever, and Christmas is no exception.
Moreover, it is pointless to try and reverse the changes that the pandemic has made to our lives. We all know that Amazon and other growing e-commerce businesses will not suddenly give up on online shopping. Instead, we simply need to evolve with the world.
Of course, it is okay to reminisce about all the different ways you spent the holidays as a child and feel odd today about how much has changed since the pandemic hit. At the very least, we can still enjoy the bigger malls in more populated cities that have not yet closed down completely and rest assured that new things, including traditions and memories, are always on the horizon.