The other day, I was talking to someone and I told them to be good to their wife on Mother’s Day. He then replied “it is just a Hallmark holiday” and walked away.
Of course, I couldn’t let this go. I had to explain that it indeed was an important day, and not just because I am a mom myself.
This comment made me think of the whole concept of “Hallmark Holidays”.
On the surface, it is easy to say that Mother’s Day/Father’s Day/Valentine’s Day/etc have all been created to support the card and gift-giving industry. But, all these holidays honor someone that is very special in our lives, people that quite often are taken for granted the other 364 days of the year.
Think about it: the typical mom (or dad) would lay down their life for their children. Many give up their careers, and even much of themselves, in order to raise productive, happy, kind human beings. Many moms work and still find time to feed everyone, keep all the schedules in order, sign permission slips, pack snacks, clean wounds, heal hearts (or try to), and so much more year after year. Anyone who does all that deserves one day a year to feel special, whether it is with a Hallmark card or a hand-written note. (Personally, I think our family’s way of celebrating Mother’s Day should spread nation-wide. If I want anything done around the house, I just state what it is, say “Mother’s Day”, and someone has to do it- no questions asked. It just may be my favorite day of the year. Just FYI, the same is true for Father’s Day, and all birthdays too.)
Think of all the dads out there that coach, that leave work early to go to games, that stress about making enough money to make sure the kids are fed well and can go to college, that help teach the kids how to drive, and that are there to pat their kids on the back and tell them things will be OK. Dads everywhere sacrifice themselves (and some their careers) for the sake of their children, and they too deserve a day to just relax, be treated special, and be recognized with a card or a note.
I think this holiday is the easiest one to accuse of existing solely for the benefit of Hallmark, florists, and chocolatiers. However, how often do people take their significant other for granted? Day after day, many of us share our joys, our fears, our hopes, and our dreams with that special someone in our lives, be it a spouse or even a best friend. Is it really so bad to have that one day a year where you say “thank you” to that person for sharing their life with you? So what if it benefits an “industry”, it is never a bad idea to make someone feel special. (Plus, I like cards, and I like chocolate… )
OK, I never understood this holiday, and I couldn’t really justify it’s existence as it seems to just be a watered-down version of Valentine’s Day. However, after a little research, I found out that Sweetest Day has changed over the years. Sweetest Day was created by Herbert Birch Kingston way back in 1922. The intent of Sweetest Day was to try to spread cheer to those who were less fortunate, and Mr. Kingston distributed chocolates to orphans and the indigent in Cleveland on the third Saturday of each month. Word of his kindness spread and more people got involved, including some movie stars. Over time, the holiday became national, and has since settled on the third Saturday in October, with the focus seeming to shift from caring for the needy to being more romantic in nature. That doesn’t mean though that you cannot still celebrate Sweetest Day in the manner it was first intended. Maybe take that day to make a pot of soup for someone who is sick, or reach out to someone you know has hit hard times and could use a friend. In other words, it doesn’t have to be a “Hallmark Holiday”. It could actually become one of your most rewarding days of the year.
Remember the Meaning of A Holiday
It is easy to just cop out of a holiday and say “well, this day is really just intended to benefit Hallmark” and then absolve yourself of recognizing the intended person/event. I want you to stop though and really think about this. Most of our major holidays are observed for a very good reason. Yes, commercialism may have tainted consumers somewhat, but that doesn’t mean a holiday should not be recognized. Life moves so fast, and sometimes it is easy to take someone for granted. So, take these holidays to say thank you to those in your life that have given you so much, because you can never go wrong with showing someone you care.