By Keith N Fisher
Yes I know it's not Saturday. I missed last week so . . .
Three days after Christmas this year, my wife came home and told me the stores had Valentines and St Patrick’s Day stuff up already. We just finished one holiday and another one pops up. Do you feel overwhelmed? How is your pocketbook holing up?
Every year, we complain about stores selling Christmas stuff before Halloween. We chuckle about having our Christmas shopping completed in July. Each store has discount bins. We can purchase discounted items from a foregone holiday while shopping for the next one. We can even get Halloween candy on Independence Day.
I investigated one of those bins once, and found discounted stuff, marked down several times since the holiday. I noticed a common theme with all of it. Each item had no intrinsic value except on the Holiday it represented. There were things like Santa Claus hats, and plastic Jack-o-lantern pails for trick or treat.
When did we become a massive consumer society? Why do we need trappings for every holiday? When did we begin to purchase gifts for every occasion? I think a lot of it stems from Elementary school.
In school, we made construction paper valentines for our mother and she loved them. Soon, we were making valentines for every member of the class. Then came the sheets of Valentines cards, just tear at the perforations, there was one for everybody in your class. Just how many people can be your valentine anyway? Is it orthodox to give a valentine to someone who isn’t your heartthrob?
When did the gift giving lines begin to blur? As a kid, we never gave gifts at Easter. As a teenager, my girlfriend expected a gift from me. Our kids get baskets of candy eggs, and although it’s not a new thing, every girl must have a new Easter dress.
Other than the religious implications, what is St Patrick’s Day for? Would you drink green beer at any other time of the year? Would you drink green beer at all? With, Kiss me, I’m Irish buttons, Hats, armbands, and T-shirts. (Everybody needs to wear green). The merchants do well. What kind of kid would you be, if you didn’t buy a certified gift for Mother’s and Father’s Days? Why can’t we give them something they really need? How many best dad T-shirts, ties, and coffee mugs do our dads need?
I’m not trying to besmirch the holidays. I’m a big fan of celebrations, but the list goes on and on. On Memorial Day, what’s wrong with flowers from the backyard? Do you know how full the Dumpster gets in the cemetery? Some people buy those trappings once and re-use them year after year. I like to put potted tomato plants on my father’s, and grandfather’s grave. It’s more fitting to the kind of guys they were.
How many rockets and sparklers are sufficient to celebrate Independence Day, anyway? Don’t forget the patriotic bunting around the picnic table.
I could go on and on, but you get the point. Over time, our consumer society has established rituals and traditions for every special day on the calendar. Part of that heritage, requires a purchase of some kind. We must have everything from hotdogs in July, to turkey in November. With all that money floating around, it shouldn’t surprise us to see the merchants capitalize on every opportunity. After all, they need to make a living, too, and the competition is fierce.
Did you know I’m a writer of cookbooks and fiction? I thought I’d mention it to validate my blog post. Good luck with your writing—see you next week.