We are 3 days from Christmas. I am not in a good place but that is another blog or 40. I was provoked by a Freshly Pressed http://wordpress.com/#!/fresh/ piece called The problem with 12/12/12, 12/25/12 and etc. over at a blog http://sunnysideupwithbacon.wordpress.com/ Katheryn sucked me in, to her credit.
The basis of Kathryn’s piece is why give significance to certain days of the year to drive positive behavior towards family, loved ones, the homeless, or domestic pets when we should just be decent human beings 364.25 days a year? Good question, right?
Concerning holidays, which comes first, being nice or commercialism? I know what the answer is for my generation and those that have followed. Older generations may differ.
Example of Cynical Valentines Day, Mother’s Day, and Father’s Day are perpetuated by Hallmark http://www.hallmark.com/ with other commercial concerns jumping on the bandwagon with the only interest being in profits. (I actually like these days and the Hallmark store has saved me during anniversarys and such….they have everything there.)
Example of Positive- These days are a not so subtle nudge to show those closest to you that you in fact appreciate them and all their foibles. Also it helps drive a lack-luster economy by promoting commerce and jobs.
Halloween: Supposedly based on pagan rituals. For some this an important ceremonial practice. For most, kids and adults get to let loose a bit, dress up, trick or treat, or party. A minimal but effective commercial venture. Kind of gets people looking forward to the holiday season. This is the one holiday where being nice isn’t necessarily encouraged. In some cases it is the exact opposite with varying forms of vandalism and toilet papering the history teacher’s yard.
The Holiday Season: Insert appropriate holiday here ___________. This one is a doozie. It is an entire systemic conflagration beginning at Thanksgiving and rising to a fever pitch on the actual date/dates your holiday transpires. This season is marked by frenzied shopping, manic highs and lows, holiday gatherings and songs which hopefully put us into a buying/giving mood. We of course hope the system is symbiotic or give and ye shall receive.
While this season puts many to work, many lose their jobs because they drink too much at the holiday party and tell the boss what a douche he or she is and then do a really unpleasant and awkward imitation of them while others cringe and say, ohhh boy. Pink slips fly around the holidays or shortly after.
St. Patrick’s Day-Anything green sells and so does a lot of beer. Bars do well on or around this day. Being nice isn’t necessarily encouraged, it just kind of happens because everyone is boozing it up and having fun. There are of course exceptions when people fight but that’s usually just the irish guys, for whom it is their God-given right to do so on St. Patrick’s Day.
Easter: Supposedly a religious holiday but in my time I have watched it become a little brother to Christmas. Sure people go to church and all that but the Easter Bunny bringing stuff as usual has overshadowed any religious significance. Again commercialism has taken over.
Bottom Line (hopefully)….Whether driven commercially, religiously or by bevevolent aliens, these quarterly reminders or holidays for the most part do instill a need to at least try to be a bit nicer to each other. This in my estimation is a good enough reason to lean towards the positive part of the dualities. It is… what it is… so we might as well enjoy it and help other folks do the same if we can. So when Kathryn asks “Why can’t we just be kinder and more loving period? Why can’t we be as grateful as we are on Thanksgiving all throughout the year? Why can’t we simply show the same Valentine’s Day affection every day?” I have no answer except we are less than perfect and holidays at least steer us on a course where maybe we can get a bit closer, a bit nicer.
Kathryn has sent us a nice challenge though, and I hope that point comes through in both of our blogs.
*All images from Google images.