Platts: Why we need Hallmark Holidays
No matter the time of year, there is always an approaching holiday. There is always another reason we have to pull out our wallets and give in to the Hallmark Gods.
We can’t help it. The radio ads are endless. The suggestive signs in random stores are all too convincing. And the fact that everyone else is doing it doesn’t help. Holidays have become an incredibly lucrative business. Americans purchase about 6.5 billion greeting cards each year, equaling somewhere between 7 to 8 billion dollars in revenue. The sheer mass of this business probably makes a good part of the population weary of some of our holidays and their importance.
Despite the scrutiny, I’ve always been a fan of most holidays. Not because I necessarily believe in the reason each one was created or what it has turned into. I don’t celebrate Christmas because I think a nice bearded character, created by Coca Cola, is going to come down the chimney and bring me presents. I celebrate it because it’s a time I can be with the people I hold dearest.
Holidays give us a moment to pause in our hectic, and often monotonous, lives and think about what we appreciate and why we appreciate it. I thought about this last Sunday while the whole country, and even parts of Canada and Europe, celebrated Mother’s Day. Yes, we were bombarded with commercialism. Cards filled the shelves of general stores and boutique shops that read statements like “Just admit it Mom, I’m your favorite!” and “To the best mom in the entire world…” All of a sudden we appreciated our mothers…because that’s what we were essentially told to do.
For most of us, that meant we remembered the holiday at the last minute. We rushed to find our mother’s favorite flowers, a funny or endearing card and possibly even a present. In fact, 84.2 percent of us in the U.S. did it and we spent around $21.2 billion in our efforts. So yes, we spent a lot of money for what is now known as a Hallmark Holiday (the daughter of the creator of Mother’s Day actually fought adamantly to stop the holiday’s growing commercialism). But we didn’t just do it because that’s what we were supposed to do. We did it to acknowledge our mothers and to show our love for them. And for those who have lost their mom, the day hopefully gave them a chance to reflect on the good times.
This philosophy carries over for the most Hallmarky of all holidays, Valentine’s Day. Though the day leaves all of the single folks in a state of angst, and yes, more often than not I have been one of those singletons, it does give people in a relationship a chance to express their love for their significant other. It makes them put aside a night around Feb. 14 to spend together.
This is the same with many holidays. On Fourth of July, we cherish our country. On New Year’s Eve, we look towards a fresh start, with fresh goals and renewed motivation. And on St. Patrick’s Day we appreciate a heavy dose of whiskey with a side of Guinness. On Cinco de Mayo we…well I’m not sure what we celebrate, but it involves a hell of a lot of tequila. Olé!
I was home in Boulder for Mother’s Day. I didn’t make the trip back for the holiday. It was a friend’s 25th birthday and she had a weekend hoopla prepared with her closest comrades. But I ended up staying an extra day for the holiday. I hung out with my mom in the morning, helping her with various chores, one of her favorite pastimes. Then we went on a shopping excursion, where she had much more interest in buying clothes for me than herself — no matter how hard I tried to persuade her otherwise. That’s how my mom is though. She’s entirely selfless and her generosity is endless. Plus she’s constantly making everyone laugh with her charmingly stubborn personality and her clever, witty comebacks. The woman is a force to be reckoned with and I’m unbelievably proud to be a member of her offspring.
I knew all of these things about my mom. I’ve always adored her, but Mother’s Day gave me a chance to reiterate it to her and myself, even if doing that involves the standard bouquet of roses and a humorous card. I’ll happily play the game, because it’s a good reminder of what I’m thankful for. It’s a good reminder of whom I hold closest.
Barbara Platts did very well this Mother’s Day, giving her mother several gifts, a bouquet of flowers and a hilarious card. She’s thinking she may be up for daughter of the year. Reach her at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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