Ah, the made-up holiday. Has National Siblings Day always been a thing? Aren’t birthdays enough for any of us? Are our lives so empty that we need to find even more ways to celebrate each other? New holidays bombard each of us, all the time, and beg us to buy more stuff. The constant consumption of America is out of control.
It’s too much.
When my kids were a part of the public school system, the holidays were a perfect example of the overage of “stuff” being thrown around. I’m not going to lie. One of the best parts of homeschooling is that the holiday nonsense has all but disappeared. No more costumes to celebrate Dr. Seuss’ birthday or bringing 100 items to school to celebrate the passing of 100 school days. No more goodie bags for every holiday imaginable (including Valentine’s Day).
Do you remember when Valentine’s day was actually about the cards you received?
My favorite part of Valentine’s Day when I was in elementary school was making a post-office box for myself along with all my classmates. We’d decorate a shoebox with construction paper, create a mail-slot in the box, and take turns delivering our valentines. At the end of the day, you actually read your cards. You noticed the words written for you by someone else. And it was enough.
Not so today. Today the cards are afterthoughts. The goodies are what the kids are after. It’s kind of sad, really, this fixation on more and the inability to appreciate the less.
I know I sound like a buzz-kill, and maybe I am. But I love how simple my elementary school years were. Parents didn’t hover at classroom parties making sure the celebration was filled with too much food, too much candy, too much, too much, too much.
We ran around and played games during our parties. We acted like children instead of consumers. Because that’s what this is all about — over-consumption. It’s not about blaming parents or teachers or even children. It’s not even about school.
It’s about recognizing the onslaught of advertising and what it’s doing to us if we let it. It’s about advertising executives planning our years and selling us stuff we don’t need to make our days what they want them to be – an advertisement.
It’s about us falling for it all.
And I’m suggesting maybe we stop falling for it. Maybe we decide what we need. Maybe we decide less stuff is what we’re after and more relationship experiences are a better choice.
But maybe it doesn’t matter what I think. The joy is that you get to decide, in the end — for you and your family — what you want your lives to really be all about.