Valentines & other “Hallmark Holidays”
I, for one, am so glad that Valentine’s Day is over with! I really can’t stand this sappy holiday. To me, it’s just another day created by the greeting card companies to bilk people out of their hard earned money. I mean, think about it; if you’re in a relationship, shouldn’t you be showing love every day of the year, not just one day out of the year? And if you’re not in a relationship, the only purpose the holiday serves is to make the single people feel like lepers.
Don’t get me wrong, I love romance! But romance to me isn’t about buying things for the people you love. It’s about spending quality time with each other. Those unexpected hugs and kisses that show that you’re appreciated. Not taking each other for granted, and saying thank you for the little things they’ve done without prompting. That meaningful stare from across the room or two feet from each other. Overhearing your love talking so sweetly about you to someone else. Making you and your priorities their first priority in life. Showing an interest in the things that make you happy. That, to me, is romance.
Romance is not a flower or a bouquet of flowers that will sit on a shelf, only to die in a few days. What kind of message is that? Or a trinket that will also sit on a shelf, collecting dust. Who can cuddle a trinket? And it’s certainly not diamonds that are overpriced and most likely mined by slaves in Africa! (watch the movie “Blood Diamond”, and you’ll understand the truth behind the diamond industry) It’s not about any thing that can be bought…not cards, jewelry, flowers or trinkets. Why buy anything at all? You’re just feeding into the commercialism of these holidays.
And speaking of “Hallmark Holidays”: I’m hard pressed to identify any holiday that hasn’t been commercialized by the greeting card companies, and the toy companies, and just about every company around. Holidays have become too expensive to even celebrate anymore. And people (especially women) have come to expect too much from holidays and gift giving. I feel terrible for the men who feel like they have to give women so much stuff. Cards, gifts, diamond engagement/wedding rings, not to mention putting up with all of the decorations and party planning that women sucker men into.
Let’s take some specific holidays and really look at them for what they are. Valentine’s is already covered. Next comes Easter. This is a religious holiday, and should be celebrated by the religious for what it is: a celebration of Jesus rising from the grave. Would someone please tell me what the Easter Bunny, eggs, jelly beans, and lavish presents given to children (mostly jewelry for girls, electronics for boys) have to do with Easter? I personally don’t celebrate this holiday, because I’m not religious. I didn’t even give a basket…that was done by other family members.
The summer holidays aren’t that commercialized, but ironically, they are the ones that everyone from every religion celebrate. Memorial Day, Independence Day, and Labor Day celebrate the men and women who make (or made) our country what it is. The only problem I have with them, is that people over-extend themselves trying to get from one picnic to another, to spend that time with family members they see only during these holidays. I’m guilty of that, myself. My Dad does the “summer holidays”, because he has a huge yard and swimming pool, and enough room inside in case of stormy weather. But there’s one family member that I see only during those picnics.
Halloween happens to be my favorite holiday of the year, and the only one that I really celebrate happily. It has nothing to do with the Pagan reason for the holiday. In fact, I get a big laugh out of those that claim to be Christians celebrating a Pagan or Wiccan holiday. My reasons for loving that holiday are simply because I love to scare and be scared, and I love dressing up and having fun with my family. But even that holiday has become ridiculously commercialized. I don’t understand the concept of greeting cards for Halloween. I don’t understand why stores start selling decorations and costumes in August.
Thanksgiving is one of those holidays that I should probably enjoy celebrating, considering my Native American heritage. But I was never brought up to appreciate it in that aspect. I enjoy the food (well, I used to), and the time spent with family, but if that day were to suddenly fall off the calendar, I wouldn’t miss it. I go where I’m expected to go, to fulfill family obligations, but it doesn’t excite me like Halloween does. And at least it’s not heavily commercialized…maybe as much so as the summer holidays.
Maybe I’ve hit on something. The most heavily commercialized holidays are the Christian holidays…the ones that are supposed to be celebrated for the religious meaning behind the holiday. I wonder if it’s the Christians that are responsible for the “more money mentality”. Or maybe it’s the non-Christians trying to make the holiday into something it’s not. I kind of doubt the latter, though. I don’t see the Jewish commercializing Chanukah.
Speaking of Christmas (which I refer to as Xmas), that has to be the absolute worst holiday of all. I understand the gift giving, symbolizing the gifts given when Jesus was born. I even understand the whole Santa Claus thing, being a celebration of the legend of Saint Nicholas. What I don’t understand is everything else about the holiday. When did it become a competition to see who could give or receive the most presents (or the most expensive)? Or which store would be the first to put up their Xmas wares for sale. Or how lavish the decorations in your home or town could be without looking gaudy? And when did “sue happy” people start a war about what kind of greeting can be publicly voiced? So what if someone says “Merry Christmas”, “Happy Kwanzaa”, or “Happy Holidays”…nobody should be told what greeting they can and can’t say to others during the holidays!
Ask yourself, why do you celebrate a particular holiday or tradition? Is it because it’s what’s expected of you? Do you buy in to the commercialism of the holiday? Can you afford the holiday? If you’re complaining that you’re broke and can’t afford to pay your monthly bills, you certainly have no business spending money on holiday “stuff”. Too many people are putting themselves in debt over gift-giving, because they think it’s what’s expected of them at every holiday. Look at how many people (again, women in particular) go gaa-gaa over a symbol of love, when they should be going gaa-gaa over the love itself.
I can honestly say (and this can be verified by everyone I know), that I do not want the crap that’s sold for holidays and traditions. I never asked for, nor did I want, a diamond (or even CZ) ring to consider myself engaged or married. I would have taken a ring out of a gumball machine, if I didn’t have a horrible skin reaction to it. I’ve threatened to break my Husband’s fingers if he brings me home flowers of any kind (real or fake). And I may say thank you, and appreciate the effort of a trinket, but I would much rather the money be spent on something important or something that can be enjoyed by the whole family, like a night of bowling together or a trip to Disney World (ok, that would be alot of trinket money saved up!). Spending quality time with my Son and Husband sure makes more sense to me than something I can look at on a shelf or have to pack up and store in the attic until next year.
Call me cynical, call me negative, call me a bitch, it doesn’t really matter to me. I just consider myself to be realistic and most definitely not a lemming.