We’ve all either said it or heard it: “I just wish ______ holiday wasn’t so commercialized. It takes away from the meaning behind it.”
Whether it be a historical, religious, or “funsies” type holiday, there’s special meaning to each one. That’s what makes it a holiday. While the “cool” thing to do right now is be upset about the buying and selling surrounding your favorite days, I want to focus on what makes commercialism of holidays great:
- It’s Why People Can Afford Holidays
Maybe as an upper-middle class young person, someone who has never had a career in retail, or someone who has never owned a business, you may feel sad to think some people work on your most cherished holidays. I’m in all three of those boats, so I understand that concern. However, holidays can be some of the biggest money-makers for anyone with a shop of their own or retail/service job. These hours and sales translate to millions of people being able to put food on the table and gifts in loved ones hands. For those living paycheck to paycheck, these busy times can be a Godsend. Sure, it’s tiring and a lot of hard work. But, for them, it may mean actually getting to have Christmas or Easter. Often people supplement holiday costs with seasonal jobs surrounding special dates. That’s a huge blessing for anyone who needs the extra cash. Imagine if these jobs and hours didn’t exist. It would mean more people forgo family celebrations. If someone is forcing you or a loved one to work days or hours that kill, and the cost of that outweighs the benefit in payment, it’s time for a new job with more understanding management. Because of all the retail/service jobs created from holiday demand, there are plenty to choose from!
- It Creates New Traditions
Every generation likes to lament the traditions of old and shriek in despair at the ones that replace their own. What’s hilarious about these notions is that it’s a given— with each generation comes a new set or version of traditions. It’s always “better when it was mine.” There was a time Christmas trees and Charlie Brown related traditions were newfangled and odd. I’m sure there were some Valentine Card naysayers back in the day. Instead, find some joy in the constant creativity of human beings. I was recently a naysayer for the “new tradition” of engagement hashtags because they seemed corny and “millennial” to me. Someone explained the utility of them gathering all relevant photos to one place (and the humor behind the corny-ness), and I realized I should have a better attitude about them. How cool is it that we even have a hashtag. Similarly, I almost sneered at the new style of Christmas lights with flashing projections on homes instead of string lights last season. However, I have to admit that it all took a good bit of innovation whether it’s my style or not. You’re still allowed to have preferences for things of your childhood or liking. Just don’t decide that it’s bad for everyone to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day without even being Irish or having a Guinness. Commercialism makes way for so many new, innovative ways to celebrate! Cheer on your fellow celebrant!
- It Gives The Perfect Platform To Share Meaning
Sure, all the bustling and commercials can take away from the genuineness of meaningful holidays—if you let it. On the other hand, everyone’s focus is on that certain day, so why not take advantage of it? In conversations, parties, events, posts, and activities, share much and often why the season means so much to you. You could look at it as your voice being drowned out by millions of ads and loud voices making Christmas about Santa or Thanksgiving about Turkey deals… or you could see it this way: You are a voice apart from all others. The contrast could really give someone a fresh view on a commonplace occurrence. Don’t mistake this for being a grouchy un-fun-haver by posting every day about how everyone has forgotten Jesus. Instead, invent creative ways to spread what a certain holiday means to you. Share it on social media and become part of the messaging in your sphere. Start a conversation online and in your everyday life. For example, if you love Valentine’s Day but hate how commercialism made it into a shallow cartoon-heart love ritual, do something to authenticate your love-messaging. Hand make cards for your loved ones and make a point to verbalize or write your feelings if that helps you experience the meaning. Keep in mind that others may really be able to communicate affection with gifts you find cheap and pointless. Share the way you celebrate and others may appreciate your view and take it on themselves. Commercialism creates great avenues that make all these thoughts shareable.
Pro-Tip: If you’re specifically sharing a religious holiday, tying faith-based events to historical or philosophical significance can sometimes interest a secular individual to explore what makes a certain day special to you.