In the next sixty days we celebrate four holidays, Veterans Day, Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year. Even though I am a veteran, Veterans Day is not a favorite. I am old enough to remember when it was called Armistice Day, the end to World War 1. Somewhere in the 1950s it was changed to Veterans Day, and I am very happy they did. But back when it was a true holiday, it was a day most people did not work. They enjoyed the local parade, there always was one, and enjoyed a day off. Somewhere along the way some genius decided it should be an optional holiday. I am offended, as a veteran, by that because it says to me that making money is more important than having a true holiday for everyone who has served, or is serving, this country.
Other holidays became optional as well, Columbus Day and Washington’s birthday, which was combined with Lincoln’s Birthday, February 12, and renamed Presidents Day. It is not difficult to figure out who wanted these days co-opted. And after all, what’s so wrong about wanting to make money? It is after all, what America is all about, is it not? And that is the scariest question of all. Is that what America is all about? Does that mean at some future date days like Memorial Day, Independence Day, and Labor Day will also become optional? Thanksgiving and Christmas are likely to stay as they are, and there is no possibility that New Year’s Day will change because football is really big business and advertisers and the companies they represent make a lot of hay on that day.
The only holiday on our calendar that seems relatively uncorrupted is Thanksgiving. Yes there are a few commercials that encourage us to buy the foods associated with the day, but other than that, there is nothing really commercial about the day. I love Thanksgiving. It is one of my two favorite holidays. To me it represents a day when families come together, a day when we are thankful for all that we have. I also love turkey and cranberry sauce, so that could be another reason.
Then there is Christmas. The Federal Government recognizes Christmas for the day that it is. So what you ask? Well, the second part of the first Amendment says that Congress shall make no law respecting religion, and so I am a little surprised that they do not call the day something else but Federal law 5 U.S.C. 6103 says it is Christmas. I don’t want this holiday to go away in any respect but why would the Fed keep the name unless it is contrary to the interests of other parties? What if the Federal Government changed the name of the December 25 holiday to the “Winter Solstice” holiday? Then people could argue that they day should occur on the 3rd Monday in December which would put it in relative context to the solstice and also be more in line with our Constitution.
The reason why is really simple. Corporate America loves the holiday, and Americans, 85% who are Christian, would be up in arms at any attempt to change things. Even so, corporate America has largely hijacked the holiday. It is not unusual for companies to withhold releasing a new product until the season is relatively near. With high demand they can enjoy a relatively high price. And they are also really good a creating a good demand where there had previously been little through advertising campaigns.
The commercialization of a religious holiday seems to be the ultimate wrong. Kids are heavily influenced by advertising, and frustrated parents are wont to discuss the true spirit of the season, giving. When I am in front of a class of elementary school kids, I try to get in the story, “The Gift of the Magi.” To me, it exemplifies what we should be all about, and not what we seem to be about.
Well, that is my rant for today. I want my holidays back and unmolested.