Many people celebrate holidays so that they have an excuse to see people they haven't seen in a long time. You can get off of work, enjoy a bite with your cousin you grew up with, gather around the table with close relatives, and maybe meet some new ones. However, this is far from the only reason people celebrate the holidays. There are so many other rituals that are performed on these so-called "holidays" that make it difficult for me to ever refer to these referendums on capitalism as such. With the push and pull present from big businesses and bitter in-laws, it seems impossible for the holidays to truly be happy. I present to you my beef with the holidays.
I agree that family should be celebrated and favorite past times too. I also am a strong advocate for an occasional vacation from one's responsibilities when appropriate, but why is it that football has become the meaning of Thanksgiving and consumerism, particularly that of good deals, the meaning of Christmas? When I went home for Thanksgiving, I remember going to Walmart the day before and seeing that the Black Friday sales started on Thanksgiving at 6 pm. I also remember going to the mall on September 18, two days after my birthday, and seeing Christmas trees outside of many of the bigger department stores, namely Macy's, needless to say I generally avoid malls from the months of September to November.
While it is true that it takes much more of a push for me to get into the holiday spirit than it does most people, one could agree that it's difficult to be excited about awkward pauses in conversations, trying to show up other family members, asking each other personal questions, and pretending everybody likes each other because this is what we're all supposed to do. This is why we all turn to smartphones, small talk, and football, but not before beating the crap out of each other for a new Xbox right after coming out of a happy turkey coma.
I am by no means trying to diminish the meaning of the holidays, but the way many people tend to celebrate them takes the meaning out of the holiday, further insinuating that we are not capable of more than competing with each other. While Darwin was right about survival of the fittest (meaning the "fittest" gets the new Xbox for $299), it also describes how we're always so fixated on winning, and we've aptly created an entire season around it.
I would be wrong to say that these holidays are treated like any other day, but these days were not meant to be spent pleasing those we don't care about and fulfilling a superficial sense of joy instead of the real one (both of which activate opioid receptors in the brain). The holidays are supposed to be a time that is celebrated how you want it to be celebrated with people you want it to be celebrated with. They are supposed to highlight how comfortable and loved you are and remind us all of all the good that happened in the last year, but if the highlight of your year was that Xbox or trying to outshine a younger cousin that seems to have it all, then what are we really celebrating?