At least once in our life we have walked into a store mid July and seen Halloween decorations in the same section as the Fourth of July decor. We all make the same comments of why it’s out so early, or about how ridiculous it is, but we all know the real reason why - money. People will and have argued that it’s to start getting communities into the holiday spirit but let’s be real, how can you think about spooky movies and pumpkin carvings when you are shopping for a holiday commemorating the adoption of the Declaration of Independence? Let alone know what costume you want to wear for a holiday three months away.
What happened to the real meaning of holidays? Even Independence Day. To Americans we see the Fourth of July as a reason to spend the entire day getting drunk with our friends and families. We have lost sight of why we actually are celebrating this day. For many of us, we wake up and start cooking for picnics, taking trips to the liquor store or heading to our friends houses for a party because we all finally have a day off from work that is not part of our sick or vacation time. We have forgotten that two hundred and forty years ago thirteen colonies declared their independence from New England, leading to the evolution of The United States.
How about Thanksgiving and Christmas? Thanksgiving is a day more than football, turkeys, and family reunions. It wasn’t about four day weekends, or the start to Christmas festivities. Thanksgiving wasn’t a feast or even a holiday for that matter but a simple gathering amongst the Pilgrims and Indians following the arrival of the Mayflower. The traditional celebration lasted three days and was a day of gratitude. A day to be thankful and accepting of local natives and the defeat over the British. Now [in 2016] it is a three day process of non stop cooking, a day about football and beer, and shoving our faces with excessive amounts of food.
As for Christmas, it’s no longer about the celebration of the birth of Christ, but about finding the perfect tree the day after Thanksgiving and decorating the house with Santa and Elf crafts. Drowning the outsides of our houses with colorful lights and standing in crazy lines at four in the morning to get the perfect black Friday deals on Christmas gifts. Children see it as a celebration of being ‘nice’ the past year with an unreasonable amount of gifts Santa and his reindeer brought down from the North Pole. We no longer wake up on Christmas morning remembering what the holiday means but rather wake up and sprint to open the presents under the tree.I could go on to explain the true meanings of each and every holiday celebrated - but you get the point. Our world has seem to forgotten how blessed we are to be here and how thankful we should be for those who have brought us here. We see holidays as a vacation from school, work, and life. An excuse to drink and get drunk and put on that “holiday weight”. Instead of realizing why we have a vacation from school, work, and life we are concerned with pleasing others. Costume contests to see who came up with the best costume, or who can cook the best turkey dinner. We become nuts and obsessed with shopping during a time when our bodies should be resting and asleep just to get what we think is a great deal. We take pictures and show off our Christmas trees to see who decorated it better and pile unneeded gifts under it making note of who has the most gifts. We don’t think about the true meaning of the day - what happened to holidays?