It is inherently awful.
There is nothing wrong with giving holiday gifts or shopping or capitalism as a whole. But I find the whole callous display to be some of the absolute worst points of humanity. I'm angry with businesses and advertisers for manipulating people and children into believing this is normal and necessary. I'm disappointed that people buy into it. I hate that, one day after a national holiday of literally giving thanks, we're out pummeling each other in search of doorbuster deals.
What can you do?
There are good deals all year round. A little pre-planning means you can still save money on big ticket items without feeding into this frenzy.
Shop locally. Support small businesses made up of real human beings instead of giant, ethically-questionable corporations.
Give art and/or handcrafted items. Etsy is a great place to start.
Participate in Giving Tuesday.
Better yet, give consumables and experiences, shop vintage/used, gift plants, and hand make your own gifts. Be mindful of the gift wrap and cards you use.
Just being aware makes a huge difference. I love to give gifts, I love to wrap presents and make them look pretty. But moving forward, I'm trying to consume more mindfully, particularly at this time of the year.
The season shouldn't be about material goods. Presents are fine and fun (especially if you have children in the family), but there's no need for the absolutely massive amount of consumption, waste, unhappiness, wash and repeat cycle anymore.
For more info:
The Helpful Guide to Christmas: a great list of links from Becoming Minimalist, which is a great blog in its own right
Jingle All the Way (it's hokey, but I love it)
Volunteer. Giving time is a great gift, AND it makes you appreciate what you already have.