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“Hallmark Holidays”

May 12, 2013 · 1,278 comments

in Life

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.

Mother’s Day

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.)

Father’s Day

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.

Valentine’s Day

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… )

Sweetest Day

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.






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{ 15 comments… read them below or add one }

M E 2 May 12, 2013 at 8:44 pm

Sweetest Day IS the epitome of a “Hallmark” holiday. It is Valentine’s Day- Part II. My father and mother flat-out refused to acknowledge and/or celebrate it. EVER.


Kris May 13, 2013 at 7:40 am

I have always felt the same way, although I have a new appreciation for the holiday now that I know how it originated.


The Biz of Life May 13, 2013 at 8:40 am

I too find these made-up holidays a little on the irritating side, but that being said……. handmade gifts from the kids are 1000% better than any Hallmark card could ever be.


Kris May 15, 2013 at 9:19 am

Biz- I guess Mother’s and Father’s days are made up, but I love them! I have to say I miss the days when the kids were in elementary school and they would come home with something they made at school. The school used to have a Mother’s Day tea too that I miss. Gosh the kids have grown up quick!


krantcents May 13, 2013 at 1:06 pm

I hate the commercialization of these kinds of days. Foe example, Mother’s Day is huge for the flower business. I think the best gift a son or daughter can give is their time. Spend time with your mother or father etc. If it is reduced to a card, flowers or present it has very little meaning for all involved.


Kris May 15, 2013 at 9:15 am

Couldn’t agree more Krantcents, although flowers are a nice alternative for those that don’t live near their mom. (Assuming mom loves flowers. I am highly allergic, so kids, please send me a good book if you move away…)


Squirrelers May 14, 2013 at 12:53 am

I’m a big believer in Mother’s Day and Father’s Day. Honestly, becoming a father is what really got me to fully appreciate and cherish what these days mean. It’s a joy to celebrate others who mean so much, and that part is more fun that being celebrated – while the latter is of course great too!

I never knew that original meaning about Sweetest Day. That’s very cool, and should be how people see that day in my view. The romantic aspect of Sweetest Day seems so wrong now that I know the original meaning. Personally, I’ve never celebrated Sweetest Day with this altered, romantic version. That’s a commercialized holiday now.


Kris May 15, 2013 at 9:10 am

Hey Squirrel- I was glad to know that there was an actual purpose behind Sweetest Day. That needs to be publicized more and the “Valentines-lite” association needs to be dropped.

I agree about appreciating Mother’s/Father’s day more once you become a parent yourself. Actually, there are so many things I appreciate more since becoming a mom!


Ambi May 19, 2013 at 10:52 pm

I understand these holidays are a bit commercial, but I just love to celebrate and think that additional holidays are fun. I do not buy into the requirement of expensive gifts for every event, but if you want to and honestly have the ability, then I do not judge purchasing gifts either. I personally bought my Mom a potted plant for Mother’s Day which was on sale for $6, since I know she loves to garden and I am not crafty. I could justify the expense as a required gift, but I just wanted to buy it for her, and probably would have even without the holiday excuse. What made the day was family getting together at our home.


First Gen American May 20, 2013 at 8:21 am

I love Mother’s and Father’s day, but hate Valentine’s day. My kids get all excited to do something special for us on that day. For kids, it’s nice to be given a specific date when it’s “mom’s turn” to get what she wants…and I agree, the little things they bring home from school are so cute (although I had to remind my son that a tea bag needed hot water to actually become tea.

Valentine’s day on the other hand, I’ve always disliked. I can’t stand that a lot of people need a holiday to be treated like they are special. To me, it’s the things you do every day to with your spouse or significant other that is special. Coming home to a bunch of flowers on a random Wednesday is so much more meaningful than getting them on Feb 14th, the designated day to give flowers. I can’t remember celebrating this holiday since high school.

I think all people need to be treated like they are special and I much prefer to just do it randomly and when the opportunity arises. Yesterday, I finished digging my mom’s garden bed. It took me an hour and it would have taken her 2 more days to do herself. Normally I don’t help because she is stubborn and independent and wants to be busy, but she was really complaining about her hip pain, so I did the last 25% and it meant a lot to her. If I did all of it, she wouldn’t have liked that, but this was just the right amount of help..the point where the thrill of spring has past and the workload seems overwhelming.


S. B. June 14, 2013 at 1:31 pm

Good idea: having specific days to remember and honor different groups of people. Bad idea: commercializing of these days such that everyone feels like they need to purchase a bunch of items that are cooked up by marketing machines.


Thomas June 17, 2013 at 8:07 am

I think that these holidays have become too much about gift giving. I like just spending time with my mom and wife and making sure they both feel wanted, needed and appreciated throughout the year. Nothing wrong with buying things but day like Valentines I never celebrate.


Moneycone June 18, 2013 at 8:09 am

I’ll say, maybe it is a ‘Hallmark Holiday’, but does it matter? It gives us an opportunity to think about a loved one and I think that’s what counts. Very interesting post Kris, as always!


Alex Dumpfree July 1, 2013 at 8:06 pm

Truthfully saying that I didn’t treated holidays and so other day(mothers day,fathers day & etc.) according this way before.To me, it’s the day when I can go out with my folks and have fun in our own ways.There’s no more bindings of work and I can enjoy it without being tensed.But,after reading this post I’m gonna take a break and think over it again.
thanks for this amazing post Kris!


Al July 24, 2013 at 2:24 pm

Sweetest day was a big deal where I grew up, but my family was adamantly anti celebrating any candy based holiday on the specified day. We had all of our celebrations when the candy was 50% off. water damage Seattle WA


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