Celebrating What?

Christmas, according to what I have been hearing for the last couple of months, is just around the corner.  I have often wondered what would happen if we had a year where holidays were limited to a week or two before the actual event.  I'm pretty sure that we would still decorate our houses, get greeting cards sent, purchase presents for the same people we do now, and probably spend a lot less money doing it.

But you know, and I know that that will never happen.  At least not in America, where holidays have been turned into "cash cows" and each extra day or week that can be added to their celebration, means more money in retailer's pockets when the holiday is over.

I understand.  In fact, I am guilty of making a little money on several of  the holidays, myself, but please, whether you are on the money making side of a particular holiday, or the money spending side, don't forget the real meaning behind it. 

Valentine's Day is meant to be a day for showing your love for a particular person, not to show how much money you can spend on him or her.  To me, a tiny handwritten note letting me know that someone cares for me would mean far more than diamond earrings. 

And Christmas is supposed to be a day to celebrate the birth of Jesus,  not a day for piling up debt that in some cases may take the whole next year to pay off. 

Thanksgiving, at least in America, was originally a day set aside to thank God for the blessings he had bestowed upon early settlers in bringing them safely  to this country and helping them to plant and reap a bountiful harvest.  Too often, we have turned it into no more than a contest to see who can stuff themselves with the most food, and drink the most bottles of beer before passing out while watching football on TV after the meal.

In the same way, the original meanings of holidays such as Declaration Day, now called the 4th of July, and Memorial Day, a day for remembering the dead, have been almost lost in the hustle and bustle of planning picnics, drinking orgies, parades, and firework displays.

I'm not condemning celebrations.  I'm just saying that we need to remind ourselves that most holidays started for a reason, and as the size and activities of those celebrations increase, the basic reason for them often disappears or at least shrinks considerably.

Thanksgiving day is this Thursday, and  Christmas is only a month away.  Why not surprise (shock)  your family members this year by making sure that no one leaves your celebration of either of these important holidays without being reminded of the reason for that celebration?

(Photo by Chodra at Morgue Files)

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